Mid-March snowstorm could usher in windchill factor near 0 degrees Saturday night

BUCKHANNON – Falling temperatures and a high chance of precipitation are likely to cause significant snowfall late Friday night and Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston.

The NWS posted a winter storm warning that will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 12.

Buckhannon was listed under the cities that could see snow accumulations of three to six inches and wind gusts as high as 35 mph. The temperature will fall to the low 20s by early Saturday evening with new snow accumulation during the day of 2 to 4 inches.

However, the snow will peter off to flurries as temperature dip to a low of 10 degrees with a wind chill as low as 0.

Lt. Doug Loudin with the Buckhannon Police Department said not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

“If you don’t have to travel, don’t, but if you do just take it slow and easy and if you have to be anywhere by a specific time, leave earlier than usual,” Loudin said. “Something we always have to watch out for is other vehicles wrecking at the same location of [an initial] vehicle motor crash we are already investigating. That’s why we always try to clean off the roadway as fast as possible and it happens at blind turns, bridges, intersections — those types of locations.”

Capt. Brian Elmore with the Buckhannon Fire Department said there are several ways to make traveling safer in snowy conditions.

“In the morning, you should get up early, make sure you have plenty of time, make sure your gas tank is full and you drive slowly – take your time,” Elmore said. “I would make sure all your windshield wiper fluid is all full and ready to go, keep a blanket, some food and water somewhere. That way if you do happen to wreck somewhere, you have something you can snack on and keep warm.”

He also said drivers should be cautious near four-lanes and Route 20, because those are areas they respond to the most frequently during inclement weather.

“Usually, we get calls on the four-lane because of speed issues and the main roads because people go a little bit faster, so we usually have our problems,” Elmore said. “Spots around Route 20, like the high school and back toward Hodgesville with the hillsides, are where we usually start having wrecks.”

Elmore said people trying to stay warm at home should also be cautious.

“Don’t use kerosene heaters or candles – stuff like that to try to stay warm – and don’t use your oven,” he advised. “People turn their ovens on and forget about them and that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Be careful with heaters because they can be kicked and knocked over, so make sure they’re not next to anything flammable – like curtains and things like that.”

By Sunday, skies will be mostly sunny with a daytime high of 43 degrees and wind gusts over 20 mph, according to NWS.

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