- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A late-winter storm left more than 80,000 customers in West Virginia without electricity Thursday, sent rivers out of their banks and shut roads and schools statewide.

Some western sections of the state received up to a foot of snow, and schoolchildren in all 55 counties got to stay home Thursday.

The storm closed roads in three dozen counties due to high water, rock falls, mudslides and downed trees. Many other streets and interstates were clogged with snow.

Flood warnings continued in at least 15 counties until Thursday night. No major flooding was reported.

Here’s the latest on the storm:



Heading into a frigid night, FirstEnergy reported about 41,000 customers had no power Thursday evening. Appalachian Power had about 35,000 outages. Both utilities say many roads were impassible and are hampering power-restoration efforts. They are bringing in crews from out-of-state affiliates.

Lows were expected to dip below zero statewide Thursday night.

Warming stations and shelters have been opened in several counties. That includes three in Cabell County, where about 10,000 customers were without power Thursday evening.

Other hard-hit areas include about 6,700 outages in Putnam County, 5,700 in Wood County, 4,600 in Mason County and 4,200 in Harrison County.



With snow still coming down, snowfall totals included 12 inches in Parkersburg, 11 in Huntington, 9 in Martinsburg and 8.5 in Charleston, according to the National Weather Service.



The weather service said moderate flooding was reported along the Bluestone River between Spanishburg and Pipestem. The river was expected to recede later Thursday. Moderate flooding also was reported in Monroe County along Indian Creek near Red Sulphur Springs.

Minor flooding was forecast Friday along the Ohio River in Cabell, Mason and Wayne counties. The cities of Huntington and Point Pleasant are protected by floodwalls.

Warnings continued for minor flooding along several other rivers. While the Kanawha River was expected to crest below flood stage, a riverfront pavilion in downtown Charleston - a gathering place for free summer concerts and other events - was under several feet of water.



While the state Legislature was in session, the state Supreme Court and more than a dozen county courts were closed due to heavy snow, as were several colleges, including West Virginia University, Marshall University, Fairmont State University and Bluefield State College.

But WVU went ahead with student elections. Voting was held Thursday as scheduled in the Mountainlair in Morgantown.

The Huntington Mall in Barboursville and the Charleston Town Center closed early. Across the street from the Charleston mall, the Mountain East Conference basketball tournament went on as scheduled at the Charleston Civic Center.



West Virginia’s residents are tired of winter. The state’s ski resorts are not.

The four major ski resorts - Canaan Valley, Snowshoe Mountain, Timberline and Winterplace - picked up a half-foot or more of snow on Thursday.

West Virginia Ski Areas Association spokesman Joe Stevens said it’s a boost to late-season skiing in what’s already been a strong year.

The timing of the latest storm was key. Highway crews will be able to plow interstates and other roads leading to the resorts before skiers arrive for the weekend, he said. Thursdays are considered light check-in days at the resorts.

“If this hits (Friday), then there’s challenges,” Stevens said. The storm is “a good kick start to spring skiing.”



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