CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State officials spent Monday strategically placing resources in preparation for the full force of Hurricane Sandy.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a statewide state of emergency Monday as Sandy began bearing down on the eastern seaboard. By evening, the storm was already to blame for at least one traffic fatality and some sporadic power outages.
As part of the emergency declaration, Tomblin called up about 150 members of the West Virginia National Guard to assist state and county emergency officials.
"We've been monitoring the storm as it's moved up the coastline and are, I think, very well prepared," Tomblin said during a Monday afternoon press conference.
Speaking in the state's Emergency Operations Center, Tomblin and other officials said they were closely monitoring the storm and trying to get resources staged and in place in areas that need it most.
National Guard Adjutant General James Hoyer said officials planned to regionalize the storm response by sending guard teams into the areas expected to be hardest hit.
Guard members were sent to strategic locations in Martinsburg, Glen Jean, Charleston, Fairmont and Wheeling on Monday. Teams will be deployed from those locations once the worst of the storm is over.
"We're continuing to track a storm that just a few minutes ago made another left turn," Hoyer said. "So what we've got to do is be prepared with the appropriate positioning to be able to respond throughout the state as quickly as possible."
State Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato expected the worst of the storm would hit overnight Monday into Tuesday morning.
"It's going to continue to get worse as the night goes on," Gianato said. "Hopefully, by midday tomorrow, the bulk of it will be out of the state."
High winds, heavy rain and blizzard-like conditions could make for a "triple punch," Tomblin said.
Wind gusts up to 60 mph are expected throughout the state.
State Division of Highways crews have been out since Sunday night, treating roads in higher elevations, while other crews were clearing culverts and drains ahead of heavy rains.
Transportation officials were coordinating with National Weather Service meteorologists to figure out which areas should expect rain versus snow. Communications director Brent Walker said the dividing line appears to run along Interstate 79.
"Anything east of I-79 is going to experience rain mixed with snow," Walker said. "Any elevation higher than 2,500 feet, you're going to see some serious snow.
"Anything west of I-79 -- Northern Panhandle and Ohio Valley -- you're seeing a lot of rain," he said.
The weather is already being blamed for one traffic fatality in Tucker County.
Tomblin said one person was killed when a concrete truck collided with another vehicle on W.Va. 32 near Davis. That area had already received more than 3 inches of snow at the time of the crash.
Tomblin urged people to stay off the roads until the worst of the storm has passed.
"For the next 24 hours, unless you've got to be on the roads, please just stay off and allow the emergency responders to do their work," he said.
Charleston was set to get light snow Tuesday, but meteorologists did not expect much accumulation.
"Most likely it's going to be less than an inch," said Jonathan Wolfe, emergency response specialist with the weather service. "The soil temperatures are so warm that it's going to be hard to get it to stick on roadways."
While officials worried about storm-related deaths, Tomblin said the other main concern was the threat of power outages. About 2,000 had already lost power by Monday afternoon.
Tomblin said the National Guard, state Division of Forestry and Division of Highways crews would be ready to help power crews restore power as quickly as possible.
Tomblin also spoke to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday and requested federal assistance for the storm.
"We have put in a request for FEMA for emergency assistance -- that being water, food, medical supplies and generators," he said. "She promised all of the support that we needed to get through this event."
As of late Monday, state offices in Charleston were set to be open Tuesday. That could change, however, depending on how the storm developed overnight.
"We'll use common sense in looking at it," Tomblin said. "That will be a judgment call basically on an office-by-office or county-by-county call, as needed."
Early voting was suspended in Morgan County late Monday, and some courthouses were closing as the storm moved through.
Tomblin said the state would work to make sure polling places were back up and running as quickly as possible.