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Commission leaves state of emergency in place

November 16, 2012
By John Wickline - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Upshur County commissioners opted to leave a state of emergency declaration in place until they can assess the situation with the Office of Emergency Management.

The declaration was put into place shortly after the Oct. 29 storms that dumped several inches of snow in the region and left many without power for days. Mon Power reported Thursday that less than 1 percent of its Upshur County customers are still without power.

"It pretty much has been deemed by the power company to be back to normal," Commissioner JC Raffety said, "though not for the people still without power."

Commission president Donnie Tenney was authorized to end the declaration after consulting with OEM leaders. The commissioners will not meet again until Dec. 6 because of the Thanksgiving holiday and a mandatory training session.

"In all of the storms I've ever seen," Tenney said, "I have never seen one that caused the damage that this one did. When it's that kind of damage, it's going to take a while to get service restored."

County Administrator Wille Parker said there has been no Federal Emergency Management directive for individual help put in place. Raffety believes that the county should expect some sort of consideration from FEMA, saying the county "was certainly not spared from the story."

The emergency shelters and food stations have been closed for several days, though line crews still remain active in the county.

"The Red Cross and other agencies have pulled their assets and their teams out of Upshur County," Parker said. "They have moved them to other places in the country."

After seeing two damaging storms since June which knocked out power for several days to local residents, Commissioner Creed Pletcher said the utility companies should take a strong look at a more aggressive tree-trimming policy. Falling branches and snow-covered trees were blamed for the latest round of outages.

"You take a drive, and you can see accidents just waiting to happen," he said. "You see trees hanging all over the lines. I know you can't eliminate every problem, but they could do a better job with preventative maintenance."



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