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Storm Wreaks Havoc On Area; Snow Expected To Taper Down This Afternoon, Evening

Reported: Feb. 13, 2014 5:23 AM EST
Updated: Feb. 13, 2014 1:44 PM EST

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A storm that packed a powerful punch, closing schools and creating a mess on area roadways, is slowly pulling off to the northeast and was expected to taper down Wednesday afternoon and this evening.

Eyewitness News Meteorologist Doug Harlow said the storm was expected to taper down in and west of Huntington by 1 p.m., and Charleston by about 4 p.m. East of Charleston snow (at least light) will last into the evening.

For total accumulations, Harlow said, there will be about 3-6 inches in Putnam and Cabell counties and 1-3 inches west of there; Kanawha County 6-10 inches and similar totals down through the coalfields along Corridor G and through Roane and Calhoun counties.

Meanwhile, 14-20 inches blanketed along Route 119 and east into the mountain counties.

Harlow said this will end up as the biggest snow in Charleston since December 2009, and the biggest in the mountains since Superstorm Sandy.

The storm created major headaches in the area with numerous accidents reported. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Kanawha County deputies urged people to stay off the roads. Schools were closed in 50 of 55 counties.

Wednesday night temperatures were expected to fall into the 20s, so another freezing on area roadways is likely.

On Valentine's Day Friday, traveling could be tricky in the evening as another storm is possible. Precipitation could begin as rain about 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and change to snow as temperatures drop. About 2 to 4 inches of heavy wet snow is possible, especially near and south of Interstate 64.

To see the latest Eyewitness News Storm Team forecast, click here.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Bethany Simmons, Doug Harlow, Jeff Morris, AP) - A major snowstorm swept through the area, closing schools and causing numerous accidents and dangerous travel conditions.

Thursday's snowfall forced 50 of 55 county school systems in the Mountain State to close along with several public and private colleges and universities. Schools in Kanawha, Putnam, Cabell, Jackson, Lincoln and Roane counties were some of the school systems closed.

Eyewitness News Storm Team Meteorologist Doug Harlow said heavy snow across much of the viewing area Thursday left 6-10 inches in Kanawha County and up to 12 inches in southern Kanawha County, 3 to 6 inches in Putnam County and 1 to 3 inches in Huntington.

Harlow said that U.S. 19 and eastern parts of West Virginia would likely see snowfall totals of between 16 and 22 inches Thursday. Parts of southeastern West Virginia received between 8 and 12 inches of snow early Thursday and were expecting at least another 14 inches before the winter storm system ended.

Harlow said the snowfall would taper down about 5 a.m., but that it would return across Central and Eastern parts of the state after sunrise. He advised that if possible, people should stay home Thursday morning, as conditions were not expected to improve until mid to late afternoon for the Charleston area and points east and south.

The National Weather Service said preliminary snowfall totals show 18 inches in Mount Storm, 14 inches in Capon Bridge, 15 inches in Jefferson County, 16 inches in Athens and more than 14 inches in Ronceverte.

Thursday's major storm caused major issues in the area. Only state employees who provided essential services had to report to work Thursday. More than a dozen county court systems in West Virginia were closed. The state Supreme Court says courts are closed in Webster, Gilmer, Lincoln, Mingo, Mercer, Clay, Raleigh, McDowell, Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire and Hardy counties. Randolph County's courts were closing at noon.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Kanawha County sheriff's deputies were urging people to stay off the roads after numerous accidents were reported.

"Please stay off the roads today unless it is an emergency or you must travel. If you must travel today, please use caution as our emergency crews continue to assist those in need and as our road crews continue to clear the roadways," Tomblin said in a statement. "I encourage you to do what you do best -- check on your families, friends and neighbors this morning and make sure they are safe. Many areas in our state received a substantial amount of snowfall overnight and continue to be under a winter weather advisory or warning."

You can always find the latest Eyewitness News Storm Team Weather forecast on the weatherpage of WCHSTV.com.

AP contributed to this story.

-- Eyewitness News Storm Team Weather Graphic

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