By KATE COIL and GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Warmer temperatures are expected this weekend as residents continue to dig out from heavy snows that blanketed the region throughout the day Friday.
Chris Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., said temperatures should reach the 50-degree range by Wednesday.
“We are seeing a mostly sunny day today with a high around 30, which will feel pretty nice considering where we have been,” he said. “For Sunday, we are looking at right around 40 degrees with mostly sunny skies. On Sunday evening, we have a slight chance of some freezing rain during the overnight hours, but it is just a chance. By the time we get to Monday, we will be close to normal for this time of year. By the time we get to Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, we will be looking at the mid-50s. That will feel really nice.”
Fisher said weather reporters have called in generally between 1 and 2 inches of snow in areas across the region.
“Generally, we have been in the 1- to 2-inch range,” he said. “We have reported 1 inch in Princeton, 1 inch in Athens, and 2 inches in Pembroke, Va., and Pearisburg, Va. We also have a report of a half-inch of snow in the Pounding Mill, Va., area of Tazewell County. Most of our locations saw the 2- to 4-inch range we predicted. It is conceivable we will see a little more before the end of the event.”
West Virginia Department of Transportation crews worked much of Friday afternoon treating and plowing local highways as a new round of snow fell.
“I do know that we were out ahead of the storm,” said District Manager Tom Camden. “Once again, we are trying to do some pre-treating because we knew, based on the cold weather, that this snow would probably stick from the beginning.”
Camden said highway officials expected more of a dry snow instead of the heavy, wet snow that covered much of the region on Jan. 17.
“Dry snow has its advantages and disadvantages,” Camden said. “It’s more subject to drifting. Sometimes under these conditions it will tend to stick more than a wet snow. The good part is that it’s not as heavy as a wet snow, which can make it easier to plow. And it doesn’t bring down trees like a wet snow does.”
Local road crews will continue their operations.
“We will be operating 24 hours to ensure that all of our roads are passable,” Camden said.
Fire and rescue officials were called out to director traffic on Interstate 77 near the Bluefield exit at 4:30 p.m. Friday following a minor single-vehicle accident.
In McDowell County, the courthouse in Welch and other county offices closed early due to the weather, said Trooper J.R. Coburn of the West Virginia State Police detachment in Welch.
“Down here they’re slick and dangerous, but road crews are doing a pretty good job of trying to keep them cleared off. We’ve had vehicles going into the ditch. People need to stay off them (roads) as much as possible,” Coburn said.
Dispatchers with the Virginia State Police Wytheville detachment responded to reports of 78 traffic accidents and 46 disabled vehicles Friday due to moderate snow and ice conditions on roadways.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, minor ice and snow was reported on major routes in Tazewell County including U.S. Route 460/19, Route 16, and Route 61. In Bland County, moderate snow and ice was reported on U.S. 52 and Route 61 as well as many secondary roads in the county. VDOT reported minor ice and snow accumulating on I-77 in Bland County Friday.
In Giles County, VDOT closed Route 749, also known as Bane Road, during the afternoon hours due to hazardous conditions. Moderate snow and ice was reported on U.S. Route 460, Virginia Route 42 and U.S. Route 219 in Giles County as well.
— Contact Kate Coil at email@example.com�