CHARLESTON, W.Va. Snow plows were out in parts of the southern Appalachian mountains Monday, preparing for as much as 3 feet of snow in higher elevations spawned by the merger of a winter storm with Hurricane Sandy.
West Virginia officials said Monday evening snow brought on by the storm has caused traffic crash that killed woman.
Forecasters in West Virginia expanded a blizzard warning to at least 14 counties for high winds and heavy, wet snow. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin had declared a state of emergency.
Meteorologist Brian Hughes at CBS affiliate WOWK-TV reports that counties in the east, including Elkins, Summersville and Beckley, are under blizzard warnings, while there is a winter storm warning in effect further west around Prestonsburg county. He reports residents in the blizzard warning zone can expect winds from the northwest at 20 to 40 miles per hour, with some gust at the top of peaks at 60 mph.
"We're not taking it lightly," Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Gene Tracy said. "We're preparing for the worst -- power outages -- and getting ready to cut trees if they block the roads."
National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Axford said the overwhelming majority of residents live in lower elevations where significantly less snow was expected. No significant power outages were reported Monday.
Highway crews embarked on snow-removal efforts in several areas, including along Interstates 64 and 77 in West Virginia. Schools were closed in at least 11 counties.
By late afternoon, the snow was coming down hard in Elkins, W.Va., where folks were taking it in stride.
Most were less concerned with the snow and more concerned about being without power for days on end, as they were after the late June "derecho" wind storm.
Brandy Wildman, 35, was buying a tank of propane so she could cook on the grill if the power to her Mill Creek home failed.