Snow squall leads to 50+ crashes, state of emergency

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:31 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Intense weather was seen across our area Tuesday morning. It led to Marion County declaring a state of emergency.

Snow and freezing temperatures caused big issues for commuters Tuesday morning, but some areas got hit harder than others.

The county’s director of Homeland Security, Chris McIntyre says everything changed nearly in an instant.

“Everything was going really smooth this morning and just in a matter of minutes a real quick snow squall came in -- it flash froze on the roads and the roads instantly turned to ice,” said McIntyre.

McIntyre says there were more than 50 reported accidents between 7am and 10am. The state of emergency was lifted around 3pm.

Marion County Schools Superintendent Donna Heston says one bus got a flat tire and another had to pull off the road to avoid being hit by a sliding car.

She says although many students and faculty were delayed everybody made it to school unharmed.

Kenny Joe Welch of the states Department of Highways says the on and off snow these past few days has been keeping DOH crews busy, but welch says sudden snow squalls like this can make a bad situation worse.

“It’s not going to be a pretty sight, it could be with a squall like that, you could be running 70mph in one area and the next it turns into a disaster zone where you should only be going 30mph,” said Welch.

The area Welch oversees spans from Harrison into part of Marion county.

Due to the extreme conditions he says he had to send extra plow teams outside that area to help.

Welch says plows had been salting the roads since midnight but an intense snow squall can quickly undo a lot of hard work.

He says in conditions like that drivers need to use extra caution along bridges and around turns because icy roads can come very unexpectedly.

“The highway maybe clear, but then you get a section where the wind came across then it’s covered back over again and you really want to watch out for those so even though it may just look like the road is wet when it snows like that you really just need to slow down,” said Welch.