Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 10, 2013

Crews work to restore electricity to thousands

PRINCETON — Power line crews worked much of Monday restoring electricity to thousands of customers after an ice storm coated the region.

Phil Moye, a representative of Appalachian Power, was at Flat Top Lake in Raleigh County when the Bluefield Daily Telegraph contacted him. More than 6,000 Mercer County homes and businesses were without power Monday afternoon. Another 176 McDowell County customers were waiting for electricity, but service was restored later in the day.

“After a storm like this, the first thing we do is assessment,” Moye said.

Trees falling on power lines caused many of the outages. Damage was centered mostly in the southern end of Raleigh County and in the northern Mercer County.

“It was more so in Princeton, Athens and Spanishburg,” Moye said. “Places like that had the conditions that seemed to be needed for ice loading. We had up to an inch of ice in some areas, and that’s what caused most of the outages.”

Area road crews spent most of their Monday clearing fallen trees away, said Tom Camden, supervisor for the West Virginia Department of Highways District 10.

“We actually started working on it last night, and we’ve been pretty much occupied with it all day long,” Camden said. “It seems worse in the higher elevations.”

Some exceptionally large trees fell on the road coming down East River Mountain in Bluefield, Camden added. Approximately 30 Mercer County roads were closed Monday morning.

“My understanding is that has shrunk considerably,” he added Monday afternoon. “Our primary goal is to make sure the road is at least passable.”

In some instances, power lines were tangled in the fallen trees, so road crews had to wait until Appalachian Power personnel deactivated the lines, Camden said.

Road crews will focus primarily Tuesday on clearing snow and ice, he said. Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., predicted another one to three inches of snow for Tuesday. Camden advised motorist to use caution during their morning commutes to work.

“There has been some concern about some freezing on the roads,” he said. “It’s always a good idea to assume it’s slick, I think.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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