Snow, dangerous wind chills moving through region

Jan. 18—CUMBERLAND — Travel is expected to be tricky Friday as the second winter storm of the week — this one with heavy snow and dangerous wind chills — moves through the region.

Several area school systems altered their schedules ahead of the storm, which is expected to drop 3 to 5 inches of snow in Cumberland before transitioning to flurries Friday afternoon, said meteorologist Chad Merrill, a Cumberland native who serves as the Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack weather prognosticator, chief meteorologist at WOAY-TV in Oak Hill, West Virginia, and freelance meteorologist for WTOP Radio in Washington, D.C.

In Garrett County and the region's other high elevations, heavy snow will be followed by snow showers through Saturday afternoon, totaling 5 to 8 inches by storm's end.

Gov. Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency for all 55 West Virginia counties, which allows officials to pre-position personnel, vehicles, equipment and other assets.

"Travel along and west of Route 36 will be snowy on all thoroughfares and drifting will become a problem after 3 p.m. Friday when an Arctic front pushes over the Alleghenies," Merrill said. "The coldest wind chills with the Arctic blast will occur Saturday and Sunday morning. West of Route 36 those wind chills will drop to minus 15 degrees and for Cumberland wind chills will drop to 4 degrees above zero.

Motorists should be mindful of icy roadways, and residents are also urged to keep faucets dripping and open cabinet doors to prevent pipes from freezing.

Warmer weather may be on the horizon, Merrill said.

"There are strong signals that point to a transition to warmer than average temperatures next week and likelihood of rain by Wednesday."