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Winter storm watches issued for W.Va.

Oct. 28, 2012 @ 12:20 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches for three eastern West Virginia counties, while much of the state is expected to see several inches of rain through Wednesday.

It's all part of the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which is lurching up the Atlantic Coast, combined with an arctic burst from the north and winter storm from the west. The hurricane is expected to clash with a winter system, dumping up to 2 feet of snow in the mountains of eastern West Virginia. The winter storm watch is in effect from Sunday night through Tuesday morning in Pocahontas, Randolph and Webster counties.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin urged West Virginians to prepare by gathering batteries, flashlights, bottled water, nonperishable foods and other necessities. He said highway crews, the National Guard and utility crews are preparing to respond.

The West Virginia Red Cross said it also is mobilizing volunteers and getting shelters, relief supplies and disaster response vehicles ready.

In Huntington and surrounding communities, the forecast is calling for much of what residents saw Saturday: Chilly temperatures, cloudy skies and steady rain. There is a chance of some rain and snow mix Monday morning before 8 a.m., with better chances overnight into Tuesday and Tuesday morning and overnight into Wednesday and Wednesday morning.

Highs Sunday should reach near 50, while temperatures will struggle to get to the low 40s Monday through Wednesday. Lows will drop into the 30s.

According to the National Weather Service, total precipitation through Wednesday could reach about 2 inches.