Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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December 27, 2012

High wind cuts power; better weather in forecast

PRINCETON — Extra power line crews are ready if high winds cause more outages  in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, but weather capable to putting large numbers of consumers in the dark appeared to be peaking Wednesday.

A weather system that brought high winds, rain and some snow was beginning to pull away from the region, said Mike Sporer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va.

“We’ll definitely be seeing an improving trend,” he said.

Some “up-slope snow showers” are expected in southeast West Virginia in areas such as Monroe County and Greenbrier County, Sporer stated.

In the Mercer County area, another one to two inches of snow was expected during the next 24 hours, he said. A new weather system approaching from the west could reach the southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia region by Friday.

“It could be a wintery mix to start, then change over to all rain,” Sporer said.

The weather service posted a high wind advisory for Mercer, Tazewell and Monroe counties, and a high wind warning was posted for Bland County. Winds exceeding 50 mph were expected.

High winds severed power to the region’s customers Wednesday morning, but much of the service was restored by early afternoon. There were approximately 1,078 people without power at 11 a.m. This figure had dropped to 178 customers by 4:45 p.m. At that same time, neighboring Raleigh County had 1,528 customers without power and Wyoming County had 670 outages. Summers County had 121 consumers without electricity. Across the state line in Giles County, Va., there were 292 customers without power.

“I would say we’re making good progress,” said Jeri Matheney, a spokesperson for Appalachian Power. “Outages have gone down a little bit and we don’t expect them to go up. It seems like the worst of the weather has passed.”

Most of the outages were inflicted by wind damage, but some ice and snow contributed to the power loses. The power company was prepared if any more people lost their electricity, she said.

“Extra crews are either already in place or on the way,” Matheney said.

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