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Emergency Management Division
1/19/19 8:00 p.m. UPDATE: Winter Storm Harper
WVDHSEM, WVNG Update
Winter Storm Harper
The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM) and the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) continue to monitor weather and operations throughout the state with reports from county emergency managers.
As of 5:00 p.m., the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has received situation reports from all counties in West Virginia. All county emergency operations centers are monitoring weather conditions and no county or jurisdiction has unmet needs.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways (WVDOH) reports a busy Saturday in all ten of the state’s districts. The WVDOH is supporting the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation with traffic diversions off I-70 and traffic signage indicating speed restrictions going into Pennsylvania. WVDOH is clearing numerous downed trees from roadways and responding to landslides and multiple vehicle crashes. Roadways in areas such as the Eastern Panhandle, I-68 and higher elevations where snowfall is occurring are being plowed and treated. In areas under a Flash Flood Watch, maintenance personnel are checking drains, pipes, and culverts to prevent blockages.
The WVDOH is coordinating with the WVDHSEM Watch Center, WVNG, National Weather Service and Departments of Transportation in surrounding states to share information. The WVDOH Transportation Management Center is utilizing the statewide message board system, WV511 Drivesafe app, and social media to keep the traveling public informed of current road conditions or any incident that could disrupt the transportation system.
As temperatures drop and rain transitions to snow, all WVDOH Districts are prepared to begin actively treating roadways. Current WVDOH Snow Removal Ice Control status is as follows:
35 county garages are in normal operations
8 counties actively plowing and treating snow
12 counties on standby for spot treating
As of this report, there are no problems or outstanding issues. The WVDOH will stay in contact with the WVDHSEM Watch Center overnight to report any changes.
Pocahontas and Randolph counties report significant power outages with 2,831 customers without power in Pocahontas County and 708 in Randolph County. Pocahontas County has an additional 500 customers without telephone service due to a generator outage. Both utility companies are working to restore services in these areas. Tucker County reports rain and wind in Parsons and heavy, wet snow in Canaan Valley.
Due to reduced anticipated storm severity, at 4:30 p.m. today the ban on commercial vehicle traffic on interstates and some expressways was removed from interstates south and west of the Pennsylvania Turnpike – Interstate 70 in Washington and Westmoreland counties, I-79, I-279, I-579, and I-376. Speed restrictions are still in place on many Pennsylvania interstates and expressways. Monongalia, Ohio and Preston counties report coordination with West Virginia State Police, West Virginia Department of Highways, local law enforcement and response agencies to manage any impending traffic situation resulting from these speed restrictions.
In Berkeley County, a shelter has opened at the South Berkeley Fire Department with volunteers on site ahead of expected icy conditions. The Jefferson County emergency operations center remains on standby with shelters ready in anticipation of power outages and cold temperatures.
Shelter locations are as follows:
Blue Ridge Elementary School, Company 5 (main station), and Jefferson or Washington High Schools if necessary.
The Red Cross and the Jefferson County School Board are aware of these plans and have made provisions for quick activation of the shelters.
In Kanawha County, Swift Water Rescue Teams remain on standby to assist with rescues due to heavy rains. Route 119 in Roane County reported small mud slides earlier in the day, but these have been cleared and all lanes of traffic have been reopened. In Southern West Virginia, counties are monitoring water levels along the Greenbrier River due to heavy rains in the area.
The entire state continues to be under various Winter Weather and Flooding Advisories, Watches, and Warnings. We urge individuals to monitor their weather situation via local television, radio, and news outlets, the National Weather Service and also by following WVDHSEM on social media at facebook.com/WVDHSEM or twitter.com/WVDHSEM for the most up-to-date information.
For more information, contact the West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office at: (304) 561-6762 or email:
or WVDHSEM PIO: Lora D. Lipscomb, Public Information Officer Office: (304) 558-5380 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lora Lipscomb, WVDHSEM Public Information Officer