BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Many people spent the past couple of days preparing for a winter storm overnight on Wednesday heading into Thursday.
For the Beckley Police Department, heightened activity on the roads draws its attention when winter weather is on the horizon.
“When there’s a lot of traffic out there, it effects us,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Office Regional Coordinator Sergeant Jamie Wilhite. “With crashes, motor vehicle accidents, standard motorists, all of that sort. I noticed that there was a lot of traffic out last night. Whether they were preparing for the storm, or just their basic shopping.”
The Beckley area was projected to get as much as 3-6 inches of snow and ice, before warmer air cut in. As of 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Appalachian power had over 77,000 customers without power across the two Virginias.
“Still some ice on the road, about an inch of ice, it looked like,” Wilhite said. “So really, just use precaution. Drive carefully. Slow down, make sure you give yourself plenty of time and opportunity to get wherever you’re going.”
There’s been an increase in traffic accidents during the winter, in part due to weather conditions. Beckley PD was on alert of this trend heading into Thursday.
“There is an uptick,” Wilhite said. “Not necessarily the driver’s fault. Sometimes the conditions are just too bad, or they may get stuck in a storm they weren’t prepared for or expecting.”
It’s an effort that goes beyond just Beckley PD to make the roads drivable despite constant precipitation throughout the day on Thursday.
“As far as the city goes, I’ll give the Street Department their credit and the Department of Highways their credit,’ Wilhite said. “The roads aren’t terrible and for the most part, they’re passable and drivable.”