High winds cause power outages
ELKINS – Wind damage and power outages were reported throughout the region after an intense summer storm Tuesday, featuring winds in excess of 58 miles per hour.
The winds were recorded Tuesday at the height of the storm at approximately 4:30 p.m., said Cindy Hart, director of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management.
“We didn’t get hit as hard in Randolph County as counties surrounding us,” said Hart, who is also the Randolph County 911 director. “When I checked the Mon Power website on Wednesday morning, less than 2 percent of Randolph County residents were without electricity. In many surrounding counties, many more folks were without power.”
Hart said the 911 Center took many calls about downed trees and power lines Tuesday, but most of that damage has been fixed.
“I think the derecho and Superstorm Sandy storms have trained folks to be more prepared for these summer thunderstorms,” Hart said. “People who subscribe to Nixle receive alerts and this better helps them prepare for incidents.”
Hart recommends residents sign up for Nixle alerts by going to nixle.com. She said signing up is free and the system helps spread the word about weather alerts and other emergencies.
Tucker County’s OEM and E-911 director, Darla Stemple, said she and residents of the county were a bit surprised by Tuesday’s storm.
“We were notified that the storm would pass through our area at approximately 6 p.m.,” Stemple said. “We were surprised when it blew through Tucker County, traveling 90 miles per hour at 4 p.m. I could not find a report on how strong the winds were, but we were fortunate that no structural damage has been reported from the storm.”
Stemple said her office received reports of downed trees and power lines, and that some folks reported they were still out of power Wednesday. She said those attending 4-H Camp and Youth Leadership Academy were still without power mid-morning on Wednesday.
“When I spoke with the power company, they said they were working to get power restored sometime in the afternoon,” Stemple said.
Doyle Cutright II, E-911 director for the Barbour County Office of Emergency Management, said there were no severe damages in Barbour County from Tuesday’s storm.
“We only had general power outages and some trees down,” Cutright said. “There was nothing major.”
According to the Mon Power website, as of Wednesday afternoon many local residents were still without power. The site listed the number of residences impacted, including 1,068 in Tucker County; Barbour, 2,227; Upshur, 1,303; Randolph, 365; Hardy, 1,893; Lewis, 2,983; Grant, 35; and Pocahontas and Pendleton counties, less than 5 each.
By Wednesday afternoon, Mon Power had restored electricity to about 38,000 customers who lost service during the storm.
The company said about 71,000 customers lost power Tuesday night as the storm downed trees and wires. Restoring service to all customers is expected to take several days.
MonPower says in a news release the hardest hit areas include Parkersburg, Clarksburg and Bridgeport, along with Lewis and Preston counties.
The company’s parent, FirstEnergy, is sending additional resources and contractors to the affected areas.