- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency in West Virginia on Friday as a storm threatened to bury the state with up to 2 feet of snow and make traveling treacherous.

By Friday evening, the National Weather Service was reporting 9 inches of snow in the state capital.

Winter storm warnings remained in effect across the state through early Sunday. No deaths were immediately reported. Major utilities Appalachian Power and FirstEnergy reported few outages.

The declaration Friday activates state resources to address winter conditions and keep residents safe. The West Virginia National Guard, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and the Department of Transportation are among those activated to help.

The Legislature met briefly Friday before adjourning due to the storm. Marshall University and West Virginia University canceled classes on all campuses, and public schools were closed in 51 of the state’s 55 counties. The exceptions were in Doddridge County and in the Northern Panhandle, where the storm wasn’t expected to hit until Friday afternoon.

In Craigsville, Missy Keaton said residents bought plenty of kerosene heaters, propane tanks and gas cans in preparation for the storm.

“It’s going to be bad, probably,” said Keaton, the cashier and office secretary at the town’s Hardware, That’s Us store.

In October 2012, snow from Superstorm Sandy caused numerous roof collapses in nearby Summersville, forcing a grocery store and a convenience store to close. Other roof collapses involved an elementary school, an apartment complex, a hardwood plant and three homes.

“I think pretty much a lot of people are prepared after what we went through a couple of years ago,” Keaton said Thursday.

Just in case, Keaton said her store sells a rake that helps residents get the snow off their roofs.

Some places are loving the snow - the ski resorts that got a late jump on the start of the season due to unseasonable warm temperatures in December.

“There is never too much snow on the slopes,” said Joe Stevens, spokesman for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.

He said all four major ski resorts in the state were reporting 10 inches of fresh snow, and crowds arrived ahead of the storm.

“They’re very busy - busier than they thought,” Stevens said.

The state’s four major ski resorts are Snowshoe Mountain, Canaan Valley, Winterplace and Timberline.

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