Friday night storm kills power to thousands
The severe line of thunderstorms with heavy winds that struck the area Friday night has left over a million people on the eastern seaboard without power during days near 100 degree weather.
As of Monday morning, power was still out in Unger and in Great Cacapon past the low water bridge and along Detour Road.
Paw Paw had electricity, but no telephone or internet service.
In all, there were about 4,000 people without electrical power in Morgan County and 68 customers out in Washington County, said Scott Surgeoner of First Energy, the parent company of Potomac Edison and Mon Power.
Monday morning, a fleet of Potomac Edison vehicles were observed coming into Morgan County over the Hancock Bridge.
“Power should be restored to most customers in Morgan County by mid-week,” Surgeoner said.
About 84,000 First Energy customers lost power in West Virginia and 63,000 in Maryland.
Surgeoner said there are a few circumstances where people may have to wait until late Thursday before their power is restored.
Immediately after the fierce, but brief summer storm, First Energy had 566,000 customers without power in the five states. About 60% of them had their electricity restored by Sunday afternoon.
Telephone and internet customers of Frontier Communications were also affected.
“We are working with electricity service providers and emergency responders to coordinate our restoration efforts,” said Dana Waldo, Frontier’s senior vice president and general manager for West Virginia. “We are making every effort to restore service quickly.”
State of emergency
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for West Virginia on Saturday after massive power outages were reported in 27 counties.
Across the Mountain State, an estimated 688,000 people were without power.
“The damage from the storms is widespread and in many places severe,” Tomblin said.
He advised West Virginians without power to stay as cool as possible and drink plenty of water. The elderly and others susceptible to extreme heat should consider moving to air conditioned locations or seeking help if they feel their health is threatened.
The governor urged West Virginians to help each other and to stay off the roads.
“Unfortunately, this is not going to be solved quickly, so I ask that you please stay patient during this difficult time,” he said.
President Barack Obama declared West Virginia a disaster area and authorized the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts.
FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide equipment and resources to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.