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Thousands without power as snow continues to fall

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Thousands of West Virginians are without power today because of the winter storm that hit overnight. 

Heavy, wet snow fell in parts of Charleston on Tuesday morning. Portions of Kanawha County, including right outside the National Weather Service,  accumulated about 6 inches just partway through the morning, according to the weather service.

Snow will continue to fall in Kanawha County until about noon today, said Dale Petry, director of Kanawha County Homeland Security and Emergency Management. 

"We're supposed to get 2 to 4 more inches in Kanawha County by noon, Petry said. "Then it's supposed to taper off."

Power outages were being reported around Kanawha County, as were numerous car accidents, he said. South Central Regional Jail lost power but was running on generator backup.

Reports of downed trees also were coming in from around Kanawha County.  

Petry urged people to exercise caution on slick, slushy roads. While there were numerous accidents, no serious injuries were reported, a dispatcher said just before 10 a.m.

"It's everywhere," a Kanawha County emergency dispatcher said. 

Petry and other responders continued to monitor the situation from the county's Emergency Operations Center.

Metro 911 answered 1,100 calls since 2 a.m. today when the snow event began. Metro dispatched 297 calls for the same time period.

Calls received included 5 accidents with injuries, 12 accidents with no injuries, 26 power lines down, 16 power line fires and 25 trees down. The peak time for calls to Metro occurred from 6 to 9 a.m.  

Officials were working this morning to set up shelters those without power. Aldersgate United Methodist in Sissonville, was to open as a shelter at noon today. Another was opening at 1 p.m. at the Salvation Army at Roane and Tennessee Avenue in Charleston.  

Statewide, more than 205,000 customers are in the dark Tuesday morning.   

About 28,000 Kanawha County residents were without power as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Power was out to 13,000 Appalachian Power customers in Fayette County and 9,000 in Boone County. About 10,000 Raleigh County residents had no power.

About 7,000 in Lincoln County had no electricity, along with about 5,000 in Putnam.  

FirstEnergy's website said 110,000 Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers had no electricity Tuesday morning in 39 counties. 

The hardest-hit counties in the First Energy region were Preston with more than 16,000 outages, Randolph with 15,500 and Berkeley with nearly 10,000.

Kanawha County schools were closed today because of snow, winds and icy roads.

School other districts such as Putnam, Boone, Jackson County and Fayette County also were closed because of snow and winds. 

On the treacherous roads, a vehicle was in the ditch at Lens Creek and another accident was reported at Cedar Grove by 8:30 a.m., with additional wrecks following throughout the morning in various areas of Kanawha County. 

A car caught fire near the Oakwood Road exit and was cleared with no injuries before 10 a.m., a dispatcher said.

A tractor-trailer carrying lumber jacknifed at 8:14 a.m. near exit 111 of Interstate 77, and emergency crews closed the interstate to northbound traffic at exit 106 near Edens Fork, the dispatcher said. Nobody was hurt in that accident, a dispatcher said. 

A spokesman at the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department said that section of the interstate was closed to keep traffic from sliding into the accident while traveling down the hill. That section of interstate reopened just before 10 a.m. 

Meanwhile, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture headquarters at Guthrie will be closed for the day because of a blown transformer, said Buddy Davidson, communications director. 

For up-to-the-minute WV information, CLICK HERE. 


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