CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A strong wind storm Saturday kept crews from Appalachian Power busy all across their service territory. Broken trees and broken utility poles put 58,000 of the company’s West Virginia customers in the dark for most of the weekend.
“We had an idea it was going to happen since we work with our own team of meteorologists, so we received an alert of high winds coming. Knowing that and knowing the amount of saturation we’ve had in the last few weeks with the rain, we expected to have some sort of event,” said Karen Wissing, Spokesperson for Appalachian Power.
The storm rolled through Saturday afternoon and within just a few hours, those thousand company employees who were on stand-by were instantly activated and in the field.
“We had favorable weather so crews were able to get up in the buckets as soon as possible and start restoring service, so we were able to make good progress on restoration. We have restored about 90 percent of those customers who were impacted,” she added.
However, the last 10 percent will be the toughest. As of early Monday there were about 4,300 customers still in the dark, particularly in Wayne and Marshall Counties.
According to Wissing the wind damage in Wayne County and the Huntington area in general was by far the worst they saw.
“At the Huntington airport, we had about 25 power poles brought down by the wind, so we’re having to replace all of those poles to get service restored to the Huntington airport itself,” she said.
The winds in Wayne County were in the 60 mile an hour range according to the National Weather Service and accounted for the most severe damage.
One person died in Huntington when a tree was toppled onto their vehicle. There were also reports all across the state of roofs being ripped off buildings in the gusts. One of the largest was the roof of the Pride Building in Logan.
Appalachian Power anticipated full restoration no later than Tuesday evening and according to Wissing the work should be wrapped up well ahead of that deadline.