The icy roads and dense snowfall Tuesday afternoon caused highly treacherous driving conditions for travelers, and emergency dispatchers reported that several roadways were forced to close for periods of time in order to clear accidents.
Fayette County emergency dispatchers stated the county saw more than three-dozen motor vehicle accidents Tuesday, and main roads had to be closed for three separate incidents.
First, the southbound side of U.S. 19 near Sun Mine Road was completely blocked for more than an hour Tuesday after two semi-trucks got stuck side by side. Traffic was forced to a standstill from around 3 to 4 p.m., dispatchers confirmed.
Next, a rash of disabled vehicles and stalled semi-trucks congested U.S. 60 in the area known as Dead Man’s Curve for the duration of Tuesday afternoon, forcing its closure just after 4 p.m. Crews from Nuttall and Rainelle volunteer fire departments worked to have the road reopened just before 6 p.m. after all vehicles were cleared from the roadway.
Lastly, the New River Gorge Bridge was closed just after 5 p.m. after a semi-truck and pickup truck hauling a trailer collided, completely blocking the roadway and leaving one injured. Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Volunteer Fire Department, West Virginia State Police and Jan-Care Ambulance responded to the scene. The injured motorist was transported to Plateau Medical Center.
Raleigh County experienced even more travel headaches that kept emergency responders overwhelmed with calls Tuesday. The county had responded to more than 40 accidents as of 6 p.m., according to emergency dispatchers.
One of those accidents involved a jackknifed semi-truck accident on the eastbound lanes of U.S. 64 near mile marker 120. Both lanes of the highway were closed for more than an hour as crews worked to clear the scene.
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Although the “quick hitting storm” is behind us, regional temperatures will remain well below freezing over the coming days, stated Charleston National Weather Service Meteorologist Ken Beatty.
Beatty said that several reports from the southern West Virginia region indicated Tuesday’s snowfall to range between 5 and 6 inches as of 6 p.m., but an additional inch was expected to accumulate over Tuesday’s evening hours.
“Certainly things will be looking better as the week goes on,” Beatty said, adding that temperatures will continue to gradually increase throughout the week, but there will be “no major warm up.”
“We can expect to see high teens on Thursday, lower 20s on Friday and low 30s on Saturday,” Beatty said. “The best thing will be the weekend when we’re flirting with freezing.”
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