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Officials hope to restore most electricity in days

November 6, 2012
By Anthony Gaynor and John Wickline - Staff Writers ( , The Inter-Mountain

Electricity is being restored to more homes every day, but much more work remains for life to return to normal following Superstorm Sandy, officials said. The storm left thousands without power and it remains out for many.

"About 25 to 30 percent of (Randolph County) residents are still without power," Randolph County Office of Emergency Management Jim Wise said Monday. "Many of the roadways are clear."

Wise said to the best of his knowledge all the major roadways in the county are open and many of the remaining problems lie in the Helvetia and Pickens area of the county.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Luther and Linda Cosner deliver supplies from the Elkins Church of the Brethren for those in need. Approximately 25 to 30 percent of Randolph County residents are still without power, officials said Monday.

"That was our problem area since the start of this storm, but we are making progress," Wise said. "The Bowden area was decimated."

Wise said the power company has a lot of major work to do in Bowden. He said new power poles are being sent and new line will be run.

"They are going to start like there was no power there in the first place," Wise said. "It is going to take time, (but) the work will continue."

Wise couldn't give an estimated time for power restoration to the Bowden area, but he did ask residents to remain patient.

"If your neighbors have power and you do not, call the power company," Wise said. To report outages call 1-888-544-4877.

According to First Energy, the following numbers of customers were still without power as of Monday: Randolph County, 4,164 customers without power; Upshur, 4,277; Barbour, 3,643; Tucker, 1,741; Lewis, 829; Grant, 314; Pendleton, 11; Pocahontas, five; and Hardy, less than five.

According to MonPower, restoration estimates are as follows: the remainder of Barbour County should have power by Thursday; the remainder of Lewis County by today; in Randolph County, the Harman area by Nov. 16, and the remainder of the county by Friday; the remainder of Tucker County by Friday; and the remainder of Upshur County by today.

Wise said several shelters remain open in Randolph County, but not many people are still there. He said most people who come to the shelters now are looking for a hot meal. Remaining shelters include: Camp Pioneer, Tyrand Cooperative Ministries, the Coalton Volunteer Fire Department, the Harman VFD and the Valley Head VFD.

While public schools in Randolph County are set to reopen Wednesday, Davis & Elkins College is resuming classes today after power was restored to much of the campus Sunday afternoon.

In Upshur County, more than 4,400 customers remained without power Monday, more than a week after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the region with nearly 2 feet of snow in some places.

Mon Power officials estimate that electrical service should be restored by today, but Upshur County Office of Emergency Management director Jim Farry said he disagrees with that optimistic view.

"I don't think that's going to happen," he said. "There are some areas that were really devastated. I'm looking at Thursday or Friday."

Shelters are still operating at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Buckhannon and at the Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department. Another feeding station has been opened at the Shelbyville Fire Department.

Farry said the Virginia Baptist Mission came to the area Saturday and has set up operations at the Wayside Baptist Church on Brushy Fork Road.

Farry said all county roads have become passable, thanks to the efforts of the state highway workers and the National Guard. He said smaller vehicles "may have to zig-zag through the trees and wires," but that larger vehicles may have a difficult time navigating through the debris.

"The movement of school buses may be difficult," he said. "It's strictly a safety issue, so it's a real concern for us."

A boil water advisory remains in effect until further notice for customers in the Elkins Road Public Service District and for selected customers in the Mount Hope and Adrian PSD. Farry said customers in the Mount Hope and Adrian service areas who lost water in recent days should boil their water before using. Those customers who did not lose their water service should be OK, Farry said.

The Upshur County Clerk's office has changed the location of four voting precincts because of power outages.

Precinct 4, which is the Arlington Community Building, has been moved to Rock Cave Elementary School. Precincts 25, 27A and 27L, which are normally housed at French Creek Elementary School, have been moved to the Buckhannon Armory.

It was announced that the Shelbyville Fire Department polling place will be open today, but will be running on generator power.

The American Red Cross and the Southern Baptist Convention have two fixed kitchen sites in West Virginia and mobile feeding will be conducted from each site. The kitchens are open for hot meals and will be available as long as communities are still without power. The local kitchen site is Wayside Baptist Church, on Brushy Fork Road in Buckhannon.



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