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Freeze is lifting but snow is ahead for WV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Believe it or not, snowy days ahead mean warmer temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.

With temperatures sitting below freezing for the last couple of days, Kanawha Valley residents might be wondering what happened to the balmy temperatures from a couple of weeks ago.

Liz Sommerville, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said Arctic air shifting from the Midwest to the northeast blew across the Mountain State this week causing temperatures to drop into the 20s during the day and into the teens overnight.

This teeth-chattering cold weather hasn't broken any records but Sommerville said it probably feels colder to residents because of the warm winter the region saw last year.

 "We should expect winter in January," she said with a laugh. "We got spoiled last winter with all of those warm days."

Meteorologists recorded six days above 60 degrees last January and on most other days that month the mercury sat between the mid-40s and low-50s. This January so far has yielded four days where temperatures reached 60 degrees and beyond, including Jan. 12 when the mercury hit 72 degrees in Charleston.

The extremely cold weather prompted a number of counties to run schools on a two-hour delay. Many cited frigid temperatures. Kanawha, Jackson, Lincoln and Putnam counties operated on normal schedules Tuesday and Wednesday while Fayette, Roane, Clay, Nicholas, and Raleigh were delayed. Boone and Logan county students went to school on a delay Wednesday.

Marshall, Tyler and Preston counties announced Wednesday schools would operate on a two-hour delay Thursday. 

Temperatures were expected to rise Friday as more snow starts to move through the area.

"The snow is almost a signal to the end of this horrible cold we've had," Sommerville said. "It's actually a good thing."

Sommerville said the moisture coming up with the snow will bring warmer air with it. Temperatures peaked Wednesday at 24 degrees and were expected to reach a high of 26 Thursday. But Friday, when more snow is expected to fall on the Kanawha Valley, temperatures are expected to rise to 33 degrees.

Kanawha, Putnam, Boone and outlying counties saw a dusting of snow Wednesday afternoon. An inch of accumulation was possible in the Charleston and Huntington areas Wednesday evening but she said those communities further north, in Jackson, Roane and Wood counties could see heavier snowfall with more than two inches of snow.

Light snow showers were expected through the night and into this morning, though Sommerville said the flakes would clear out by about 9 a.m. Motorists making the morning commute should take caution, she said, as the roads could be icy from the snow and lower temperatures.

"People should be careful going in to work, especially if the roads are icy," Sommerville said. "Maybe give themselves more time to get there, and take it slower."

Clouds moving in Friday morning were expected to bring snow showers with accumulations in the Kanawha Valley of about an inch and a half. Showers are expected to last all day Friday and into Saturday morning.

The more mountainous areas of the state to the east were expected to see at least two inches Wednesday night and receive an additional three inches by Friday. Temperatures at Snowshoe weren't expected to break out of the 20s this week.

Sommerville said with low temperatures, residents should remember to make sure when traveling outside to cover all exposed areas of skin to protect it from the extreme cold. She said residents also should check on their elderly relatives and neighbors and bring any outdoor pets inside. Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.


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