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As the remnants of West Virginia’s first significant snowfall of the season melt away, a new winter weather system is expected to arrive from the west on Sunday, blanketing the entire state with at least 4 inches of wet, heavy snow.

The National Weather Service on Friday issued a Winter Storm Watch covering all of West Virginia and large portions of neighboring states advising that moderate to heavy snowfall is likely to descend in the region starting early Sunday, producing accumulations of 4 to 8 inches in the western lowlands.

In the state’s eastern mountains, accumulations could reach the 10- to 12-inch range and be accompanied by winds gusting at up to 35 miles per hour.

In the Kanawha Valley and other points west of the mountains, Sunday’s snowfall could turn to freezing rain during the afternoon before returning to all snow Sunday night and early Monday.

The Winter Storm Watch, in effect from Sunday morning to early Monday, cautioned that “travel could be very difficult to impossible” statewide during and immediately after the snowfall, making the morning commute on Monday a challenge.

Monday’s public school classes already are canceled for the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The rapid descent of wet, heavy snow could cause tree limbs to break and fall across power lines, increasing the likelihood for at least scattered outages, particularly in areas receiving the heaviest snow, according to the Weather Service.

Scattered light snow showers are possible again on Monday, with the odds projected at 50% for the Charleston area during the day, and 30% Monday night. Partly sunny skies are expected Tuesday.

Rick Steelhammer is a features reporter. He can be reached at 304-348-5169 or rsteelhammer Follow

@rsteelhammer on Twitter.

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