High winds knock out power to more than 1,000 homes

High winds interrupted power service for more than 1,000 local residents Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

Randolph and Pocahontas counties were under an ice storm warning Tuesday issued by the National Weather Service, but it was wind that did damage. At 5 p.m., Mon Power reported outages in several counties, including 835 customers without power in Barbour, 383 in Randolph (mainly in the Coalton and Mingo areas), 103 in Upshur and 13 in Tucker.

By 9 p.m., those numbers had been significantly reduced, with 37 customers still without power in Barbour, 27 in Randolph, 54 in Upshur and 59 in Tucker.

Terry Wilfong, Barbour County Office of Emergency Management operations chief, said several calls came into the OEM around 3 p.m. Tuesday from residents reporting downed trees.

Trees were reported to have fallen near Union Road and Stalnaker Road, both in Philippi, Wilfong said. In addition, police radio traffic reported a downed tree on Audra Road. Passage of the road was blocked to automobiles until approximately 5:30 p.m.

In Randolph County, Coalton and Junior fire departments were called to a brush fire in Mabie Tuesday afternoon. The fire was reportedly caused by a downed power line and had burned itself out by the time firefighters arrived at the scene.

There will only be a brief respite today from the pressing storm systems, said Andy Roche, a meteorologist with the NWS.

“We will be under the influence of the same low-pressure system tomorrow,” he said Tuesday.

Roche said cold air will be coming through the Elkins area this evening, and is expected to generate conditions for substantial snowfall.

Elkins residents can expect to see four inches of snow over an approximately 12-hour period tonight through the day Thursday, Roche said. He noted that an additional inch of snow is expected to be piled on Thursday night.

A mix of rain and snow is expected to begin falling tonight and should turn to snow once the temperature drops.

“The heavy stuff will taper off by Friday night,” Roche said, but a dusting of snow may be possible through the day Friday.

Wind, he said, may also be a problem during the coming storm system.

Roche said the strongest gusts will be felt Thursday evening, with expected wind speeds over 20 mph.

A winter weather advisory may be issued by the NWS today or Thursday, he said. In order for that to be issued, four inches of snow must be expected to coat the area.

Temperatures tonight are expected to dip down to 28 degrees, according to the NWS website. Thursday night the low will also reach 28 and Friday night it will drop to 21 degrees.

The high today is predicted to reach 41 degrees and will drop to 33 degrees Thursday and 32 degrees Friday.

Contact Casey Houser by email at chouser@theintermountain.com.