Fast moving Tuesday storm catches many by surprise

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Tuesday snow event was quick, devastating for morning traffic, and took many by surprise. MECCA 911 Executive Director Jim Smith said they responded to 29 accidents and 11 motorist assists.

At least six accidents included personal injury, and some social media posts suggest at least one person may have been killed.

State Senator Mike Caputo (D-Marion, 13) said even crews from the state Department of Highways were taken by surprise. District 4 Engineer Mike Daly told Caputo they did not see the serious weather event coming.

“He said nowhere on their radar they saw this snow coming,” Caputo said. “This was a squall that came through here that no one was expecting, and he said it got ahead of them because they always want to pretreat.”

Because the storm was not forecast, pretreating was not done as it has been in the past. The storm came so swiftly, with temperatures in the 20’s, that the conditions were perfect for the pavement to freeze when the snow melted.

“This is the first of the year; they haven’t used anything, and why wouldn’t they pretreat?” Caputo asked. “He said we didn’t see it coming, and when it came, it was ahead of us, and we couldn’t get out there.”

The DOH, like all other organizations, is hurting for workers, and Daly said District 4 has plenty of openings for people looking for a job.

“He mentioned the shortage of drivers too in this conversation,” Caputo said. “I wrote the number down so I would remember it, and he said they are 82 people short right now, and that number came from Mike Daly.”

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Smith said the Monongalia County Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell made the right call in the quickly developing situation.

“They stay up on it pretty good and the two hour delay was perfect and I think it was a little after 7 a.m. that they called school off and that was absolutely perfect,” Smith said.