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Many still without electricity

July 3, 2012
By John Clise - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

As high temperatures hovered in the 90s Monday, work continued in Lewis and Upshur counties to restore power to residents following Friday's violent storm and high winds.

As of Monday afternoon, 65 to 70 percent of Upshur County residents still were without power, while 82 percent of Lewis County residents were still without electricity.

Bill Rowan, the director of emergency services in Lewis County, said the county does have drinkable water and there are no plans to turn off water service. He also said as power continues to be restored, residents may encounter temporary outages.

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"Please be patient and don't panic," Rowan said, adding that ice is being brought in from Louisiana.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin toured Lewis County on Monday afternoon, meeting with Rowan and other county officials to discuss the situation. Tomblin said 53 of the state's 55 counties are facing difficulties from Friday's storms.

He also said in these types of emergency cases, the first call normally goes to neighboring states for help. But Tomblin said those same states were all hit by these storms.

In a press release Monday, Tomblin said he understood the hardships state residents were going through, and assured them that emergency officials and the power companies were doing all they could to restore electrical service.

"I'd ask that all West Virginians continue to check on their friends and family, stay off the roads as much as possible, and most important, that everyone remain calm," Tomblin said.

The National Guard is assisting with resources in Lewis County. E-911 and all emergency services are operational in the county, and Rowan said medical facilities are up and operating.

Weston Transfer is operating this week, though it is serving commercial customers first in an effort to remove spoiled food and other waste to ensure no public health hazards. The company will resume residential pickup later this week.

Rowan said residents can tune in to 980 AM for local announcements and updates.

In Lewis County, Walmart opened back up at 1 p.m. Monday. CVS Pharmacy was open, as was the Pricetown Stop-N-Shop, along with other businesses that tried to stay open to help residents get needed items.

Jim Farry, the director of office of emergency management in Upshur County, said power had been restored to the north end of Buckhannon, and several businesses and restaurants were open in the Lowe's area Monday. He also said some gas stations were open.

St. Joseph's Hospital was up and running, Farry said. After sanitizing the surgical areas, the hospital was accepting patients.

"The hospital is currently going through a comprehensive recovery process to ensure the safety of its patients and the operational integrity of all departments, their equipment and supplies," St. Joseph's spokesperson Lisa Wharton Turner said. "The emergency department, laboratory and radiology are open with St. Joseph's Physicians' offices resuming normal hours on Tuesday."

In Buckhannon, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church was operating as an American Red Cross cooling station, and the Parish House was providing free hot meals.

There also were cooling stations at the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department in Rock Cave and the Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department.

Farry said there is a water buffalo set up at Banks District, and all cooling stations will remain open until power is completely restored.

Farry noted that the county had received a truckload of water that will be distributed at the area cooling stations.

Also, the Adrian Public Service District in Upshur County is under a boil-water advisory until further notice.



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