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Area sees some wrecks, despite lower-than-expected snow totals

MORGANTOWN — The weekend’s winter storm that had the possibility of leaving the area buried with up to a foot of snow took a more-mild turn in the Monongalia and Preston county areas, leaving totals on the lower end of their potential.

Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said the two counties saw an average snowfall of 4-to-5 inches, with some of the higher regions to the east near the Maryland border getting amounts of 9-to-12 inches.

Even though snow totals stayed on the lower end in most areas, road conditions were not ideal Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.

Monongalia Emergency Centralized Communications Agency (MECCA) Executive Director Jimmy Smith said his department received about 20 calls for weather-related vehicle accidents beginning around 2 p.m. Sunday through Monday.

Most of those were fairly minor accidents where the vehicle slid off the road into something like a median, guard rail, or ditch, Smith said.  They also responded to 11 motorist-assist calls — which are typically stranded motorists or vehicles that were stuck and needed some assistance — and five reports where people had slipped and fell and needed an ambulance.

One accident around 5 p.m. Sunday involved a motorist on University Avenue near Tudor’s Biscuit World that crashed into a power pole.  Smith said that incident briefly knocked out power to over 500 residents in the area.

Fortunately, there were not many other significant power outages in the area due to weather so far, said Will Boye, Advanced Communications Representative at First Energy/Mon Power. 

While not all outages can be avoided, like the accident mentioned previously, Boye said that prior to the onset of winter weather, Mon Power conducts inspections and maintenance to help enhance service reliability.  He said the tree trimming the company does throughout the year also helps by protecting against tree-related outages caused by heavy, wet snow, high winds, and ice.  

Preston County Office of Emergency Management officials could not be reached for accurate accident totals for the county due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday; however, staff at the non-emergency 911 call center believed there to have only been four or five wrecks in the county. They could not confirm whether they were all weather-related.

Looking toward the rest of the week, Kines said the next few days don’t look too bad. “It’s going to be on the chilly side with highs Tuesday around freezing.  Wednesday will be a little milder and temps will get back up into the 40s.”  

That could be short-lived, though, as Kines said there will be a front moving through on Wednesday that could come with a little rain.  Precipitation may continue and temperatures on Thursday will likely be in the 20s, allowing for the chance for some small snow accumulation. 

“Friday, we might not make it out of the teens,” he said.  

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