Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 29, 2012

Citizens stock up and batten down for storm

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — In Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel, “Frankenstein,” Dr. Victor Frankenstein created his monster out of parts from several donors. The storm that some are calling, “Frankenstorm” that is now pounding Four Seasons Country is made up of several components as well as including the remnants of Hurricane Sandy and a cyclone coming from the west. Those elements are currently combining to cause a potentially big problem.

The changing nature of the storm system is also prompting meteorologists with the Blacksburg, Va., office of the National Weather Service to make some adjustments in the forecast. For example, the National Weather Service added a “Winter Storm Warning” and a “Wind Advisory,” calling for wind gusts as high as 45 miles per hour, in addition to the “Hazardous Weather Outlook” that has been in effect for the past two days.

Anita Silverman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, expects snowfall totals of 4-8 inches in elevations above 2,500 feet. Bluefield’s elevation is 2,600 feet. Silverman said that at lower elevations, accumulation could be from 0-3 inches of snow for the total event that began Sunday night and will continue through Wednesday.

Area residents took to the local stores Saturday and Sunday to stock up on items like water, milk, ice and bread. “We had to get a special shipment of milk in (Sunday) afternoon,” Scott Meadows of Grant’s Supermarket in Green Valley said.

“We normally only keep two check-out lanes open on a Sunday evening this late in the month, but we’ve had three open all day and it looks like we need to open another one,” Randle Grant said.

Jaclyn May, office manager of the Grant’s store in Green Valley, said that the store was busy all day long on Sunday, “but we were even busier on Saturday,” she said. “We really didn’t expect this. We had a three-day sale that started on Wednesday and ended on Friday, so we didn’t expect this many people here today.”

May said store owner, Ron Martin, asked all of the Grant’s stores to keep a close watch on the levels of water, bread, ice and milk. “We also brought snow shovels and bags of salt up to the front,” May said.

Appalachian Power Co., repair crews continued making preparations to travel at a moment’s notice to restore service wherever they are needed, according to a press release issued Sunday afternoon. In addition to the locally based crews, APCO said it has more than 350 additional employees from its parent company, American Electric Power, who are also ready to respond if they are needed.

“This weather combination will likely cause a major power outage event for us and we are preparing by staging crews in various areas of West Virginia and Virginia,” Phil Wright, vice president of distribution operations was quoted in the press release as stating. “At the same time. We encourage customers to have a plan in place for coping with extended, storm-related power outages.”

A press conference scheduled this morning at Industrial Plating and Machine in Brushfork, featuring U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., and Republican Attorney General candidate Patrick Morresey, has been canceled, according to John Shott. Also, the Mercer County Historical Society canceled its monthly meeting scheduled for Oct. 30.

Rain and snow are in the forecast through Wednesday night, with wind gusts up to 45 mph today.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com