Winter storm blankets area
Warmer temperatures on Monday gave no indication that weather forecaster predictions of a major snow storm would prove true. But, prove true they did as the area was coated with up to 10 inches of snow Tuesday.
The winter storm had schools closed in all 55 counties in West Virginia. In the Eastern Panhandle, Shepherd University followed suit and closed classes as well. The closure continued through Wednesday as cold temperatures made snow removal and melting impossible in some areas.
Shepherdstown’ public works department worked throughout the storm to clear the streets for travelers who were unable to stay home. According to Lori Robertson, town recorder, the town employees not only worked to plow the snow, but hauled it away for residents and businesses.
“The Corporation is proud of the dedication of its public works employees who worked diligently in this storm,” she said.
While many stayed inside warm and dry, some had to report to work, including local law enforcement, postal workers and many business owners who couldn’t close for the day. Those out and about were able to get lunch as China Kitchen and Tony’s stayed open their regular hours Tuesday. The Sweet Shop was open until 2 p.m. to serve its customers.
Many others, including local government workers and federal workers got an extended weekend, as they already had Monday as a holiday. Fewer people on the roadways led to less accidents; however, the local fire and rescue community were busy throughout the day with traffic mishaps and weather related incidents.
The continued drop in temperatures and designated wind chills had many concerned over homeless individuals. However, a plan to open a Warming Center at Asbury United Methodist Church was halted by the Jefferson County Health Department due to safety concerns for staff and volunteers.
“Due to the road conditions and for the safety of our staff and volunteers, the (JC) Board of Health has decided to postpone the opening of the warming center that was scheduled to open (Tuesday) at 5 p.m. Once the roadways are once again passable, the Board of Health will make a determination when the warming center can safely open,” read a press release by the Jefferson County Board of Health.
Wind chill advisories remained in effect through Wednesday as temperatures failed to get into the 20s.
Schools remained closed Wednesday, including Shepherd University, giving students an added vacation. Jefferson County students will likely see an addition of school days in June to make up for the lost time due to the winter weather.
Individuals were advised to once again stay in Wednesday if they did not need to be out on the roadways. While major highways were relatively clear of snow, side streets continued to be covered, especially when the wind kicked in to blow the fine snow that had accumulated.
Additional bouts of snow are possible for Thursday and again on Saturday as January winds down.