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Winter storm brings snow, freezing rain; flood watch posted

Lawrence Pierce
A snowboarder takes off Sunday at Cato Park Golf Course in Charleston after a winter storm brought snow, sleet and freezing rain to the region.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A powerful storm brought up to 6 inches of snow to parts of West Virginia on Sunday, before warming temperatures brought sleet and freezing rain, making for slick roads and dangerous travel.Kanawha County saw about 2 inches of snow, while areas in Cabell, Putnam and Jackson counties received between 4 and 6 inches, according to the National Weather Service.Traffic accidents were reported throughout the county, specifically along Corridor G, Interstate 77 northbound and Dupont Avenue in Belle, according to Kanawha County Metro 911. There were 26 reported accidents as of Sunday afternoon, a dispatcher said, and several occurred along Interstate 64 between Nitro and Dunbar.American Electric Power's outage map showed about 1,500 customers in Kanawha, Mercer and Wayne counties were without power on Sunday evening, although company spokesman Phil Moye said they did not have widespread outages."We've been able to take care of those problems as they come up," Moye said.AEP is not anticipating widespread outages today or throughout the week, but crews are on alert should problems arise, Moye said.The National Weather Service said the high-pressure system that spans from North Carolina north to New England is being fed by disturbances from the southwest and moist air off the Atlantic. And while hazardous weather alerts for the Kanawha Valley were lifted, the NWS issued a flood watch in effect throughout Monday for much of Southern West Virginia. "Whatever's left is turning into rain," John Victory, of the NWS, said.The steady precipitation could cause water levels in creeks and streams to rise, he said.Tammy Jett-Chasteen said she is keeping her eyes on Blue Creek and the Elk River, both of which run along her property at Safe Haven Horse Rescue of West Virginia in Elkview.Jett-Chasteen and her husband, Jimmie Chasteen, spent much of Friday night and Saturday morning relocating their four horses when they realized their barn was flooding. The horses were moved to higher ground twice (once, with the help of a diver from the local fire department), as fields at Safe Haven continued to flood.
"By the time we got them all rescued, it was between two and three in the morning," Jett-Chasteen said. She and her husband stayed up all night to watch over the horses, as the couple had no fencing to keep them from wandering off the property.Now back in the barn, Jett-Chasteen said neighbors have offered to take in the horses in case it floods again. Safe Haven has also received a number of "mysterious" donations of hay and feed to replace what was lost in the flood, she said."We were trying to figure out how we're going to do all this," Jett-Chasteen said of replacing the feed that was bought three days prior to the flood. "I think [it's] awesome that the community's helped out."Victory said steady rains should end by Monday evening, followed by dry conditions for the rest of the week.
"There might be just a chance of a little light snow," Victory said. "We're looking pretty good for the rest of the week."Staff writer David Gutman contributed to this report. The Associate Press contributed to this report.Reach Rachel Molenda at or 304-348-5102.   
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