Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 2, 2012

Thousands still without electricity, new outages reported due to strong Sunday night storm

BLUEFIELD — Thousands across the region are still without power and some who had seen their electricity restored over the week lost power again after a second round of powerful storms hammered the region Sunday night.

Additional outages occurred throughout the region Sunday night as crews from Appalachian Power were still working to restore outages caused by Friday night’s powerful storm.

APCO estimates that approximately 11,216 Mercer County customers and 6,111 McDowell County customers are still without power. The company says service may not be restored to all customers until Friday.  Restoration times for the 1,654 customers in Bland County were set back to Friday while restoration times for 3,953 customers Giles County were pushed back to Wednesday due to renewed outages.

An estimated 6,103 customers in Tazewell County, 1,486 in Buchanan County, and 1,736 in Monroe County were still without power as of 10 a.m. APCO said more than 2,000 workers are on the ground in the two Virginias assessing damage, working on power lines and removing trees. Workers have been recruited from as far away as Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Georgia to join the restoration effort.

McDowell County Emergency Services spokesman John Sidote said anyone needing drinking water can go to the 5,000-gallon water tanker at the Kimball Elementary School. Those needing water are asked to bring their own containers.

Roofs were blown off from some buildings in Welch and several locations that had previously seen their power restored lost power again Saturday night. Outages were reported in various areas including Iaeger, Laurel Creek, Cucumber, Kimball, Jenkinjones, Anawalt, Welch, Premier, Roderfield, Avondale, Wilcoe, and Gary. However, power was still on in many areas of Welch where residents from as far away as Wyoming County were arriving to get hot meals and gasoline.

The Mercer County Courthouse remains closed due to the state of emergency declared in West Virginia while power went out Sunday night to the West Virginia State Police Princeton Detachment as well as several businesses near Exit 9, according to police officials.

Volunteers at the Bluefield Union Mission are continuing to hand out bottled water, cooling fans, ice, flashlights and shelf-stable food to area residents coping with power outages. Craig Hammond, executive director of the Union Mission, said the mission has one cooling fan for every eight people requesting them. After cooling fans, Hammond said the most requested item has been flashlights. Anyone having spare flashlights, cooling fans or other items may drop them off at the mission or call 1-800-491-HELP.

Dispatchers with Tazewell County 911 and the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office said additional trees were downed across the area as the result of Sunday night’s storms and power outages persist throughout both counties. More trees were also downed in Giles County, according to the Giles County Sheriff’s Department.

Officials in Monroe County met Sunday afternoon in Union to discuss countywide issues caused by storm damage. Tim Wilson, acting director of the Monroe County Emergency Services, said the 911 center is operational on back-up power and officials have been taking calls for assistance since the storm. Wilson said he is receiving regular updates from Appalachian Power and MonPower concerning the power outage.

The town of Union is also using a generator to operate sewer and water systems in the area. Any Monroe County resident can also purchase a minimum of 100 gallons of water through a coin-operated system at the Union Town Hall for emergency purposes. Officials report that bottled water and ice is also available at the 911 Center in Union from daylight to sundown.

Julie Mundell, a spokesperson with the Monroe Health Center, said the center in Union will be open on Monday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. only for those needing urgent care. Two cooling stations have been established in the county at the Union Senior Center and the Lindside Senior Center. These cooling stations will allow those without power to get some relief from the heat. Both of these stations will be open from 11:30 a.m. till 7:30 p.m. daily as problems persist.

Officials in Monroe County are asking that residents of the county check on their neighbors to make sure they are okay or to see if they have any needs. Anyone with a question or concern can contact the county’s non-emergency assistance hotline at 304-772-3912.

A statement issued by APCO said additional time would be needed to restore power in some areas due to new outages last night.


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