High winds topple trees, cause widespread power outages

by Trish Rudder & Kate Shunney

A large pine tree blocked Cacapon Road in the area of Hunter’s Camp Road on Monday morning, February 25.
photo by Bev Buzzerd

A tree tipped over onto a mobile home at the intersection of Green Gate Road and Winchester Grade Road during this week’s windstorm.

Ronnie Sue Childers got a picture of a massive pine tree toppled onto her garage in Berkeley Springs

More than 2,000 Potomac Edison customers in Morgan County lost power as a result of high winds from Sunday, February 17 into Monday, February 18. Other residents suffered property damage from trees falling on buildings, or items being blown around by powerful gusts.

Extreme winds, with gusts that topped 55 miles per hour, blew through the region from Sunday around 3 p.m. through the night and nearly all day Monday.

According to the First Energy outage map, 62 percent of Great Cacapon electric customers –1,141 households — were without power on Monday morning.

In Berkeley Springs, 863 customers had no power on Monday; and in Paw Paw, 153 customers lost power.

Many residents were still without electricity at press time, with Potomac Edison estimating it could take them until the end of the week to restore power.

Morgan County Schools were closed on Monday due to partial power outages at Warm Springs Middle and Intermediate schools. School was initially delayed for two hours while crews worked to remove downed trees from area roadways, but officials later closed schools for the day.

West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) crews in Morgan County cleared more than 50 downed trees from the roadways during the windstorm.

DOH supervisor Rodney Crowell said on Monday that the felled trees were mainly “out in the county,” along the ridge tops in areas such as Largent, Highland Ridge, and River Road.

Crews used equipment such as plow trucks, back hoes and loaders to remove the trees. Crowell said tree and debris removal began on Sunday afternoon and crews worked through the night into Monday to respond to calls for downed trees.

“Most of the cleanup was on Monday,” he said.

Sheriff K.C. Bohrer said Sheriff’s deputies responded to multiple calls for power lines down and arcing, tree limbs and debris in the roadway.