By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Although the familiar comment now is “I’m sick of winter”, local area residents have to admit that north central West Virginia has been quite fortunate thus far this winter. Certainly there has been nothing in our region to even remotely resemble the “Blizzard 2015” news that has been transmitted of late on television broadcasts.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, however, states north and east of West Virginia were suffering from heavy snowfall. In Massachusetts, for example, accumulations were nearing the three-foot mark and some areas of that state reported wind gusts as high as 78 mph! Over 28 inches of snow was reported in Orient, NY, 26 inches in Atkinson, NH, 23 inches in Waterford, CT, 21 inches in Burrillville, RI, 14 inches in Windber, PA, and 10 inches in Brick, NJ.
Police Departments in the local area will attest, though, that just because many roadways in West Virginia may not be coated with a foot or more of snow, it does not mean that motorists should ignore weather advisories. They caution that weather advisories warn of a potential threat – even if it is a light glaze of ice and just an inch or two of snow. And, when traveling is discouraged, that warning should be heeded.
Several accidents were reported in Harrison County earlier in the week involving hospital transports. Some were weather related – even though snow was minimal.
Local law enforcement officers agree … “When warnings are issued asking motorists to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to travel, these alerts should not be ignored!” IF travel is mandatory, follow these guidelines:
• Remember that speed limits are based on normal – not wintry – road and weather conditions, so reduce speed.
• Maintain at least three times the normal following distance from the vehicle in front of you to allow plenty of room to stop.
• Exercise extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses, etc. as they tend to freeze first.
• Brake gently to avoid skidding.
• Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
• Use low gears to keep traction.