Raleigh County Sheriff on snowstorm’s impact

January has brought its share of stormy weather and icy roads.

With it, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department has seen an uptick in car wrecks and more.

“What helped us this time was people really knew ahead of time this storm was coming in so they were able to do their errands before the storm started,” said Sheriff Jim Canaday.
“So the traffic was a little lighter than usual. I think people were better prepared.”

According to the Raleigh County Sheriff, other types of things they see with snowstorms and bad weather are a few more domestics –that is personal, violent crimes.

“People are cooped up in the house together, sometimes tempers flare,” Canaday said. “Also noticed that there were several warming centers that were open and I think that’s a testament to the people in Southern West Virginia; we try to care for each other.”

Some businesses also have to close because of the snow. The sheriff says people may take advantage of that.

“And so maybe you’re breaking and entering the businesses, you’ll see more of,” he said. “A lot of the times when people are at home we’re not as apt to see as many burglaries because people are at home — they can’t get out so their house isn’t susceptible to a burglary.”

The department is accustomed to being out there 24/7 in challenging conditions. Canaday says they do it every year. He says you could be running an errand when your car stalls or run out of gas with temps below zero — and you have a real problem. When you get stuck, the police come.

“So now we’re driving out to help you. A lot of times the fire department or the ambulances come. Wrecker services come pull you out of the ditch,” said the sheriff. “So there’s a whole lot to consider whenever weather like this hits. So we’re happy to see when people do heed the warnings and try to prepare ahead of time. Helps the law enforcement, first responders.”

With a warming trend on the horizon, we won’t have life-threatening temperature drops — and the roads won’t be as hazardous.

“Potentially you’re gonna see the melting and the runoff, and sometimes it’ll freeze at night. So you do need to watch out for the black ice,” Canaday said. “It’s nice to go into the thaw, but sometimes the thaw brings its own set of circumstances that we have to deal with.”

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