UPDATE: Lights and Heat Back On for Thousands in W.Va.

By: Anna Baxter, The Associated Press, Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Anna Baxter, The Associated Press, Brooks Jarosz Email

Due to high winds (and significant snowfall) related to Superstorm Sandy, many people throughout West Virginia are currently without power. To assist customers in the area affected by Hurricane Sandy, Verizon is offering charging stations for those needing to charge the battery on their wireless device. They will also provide coffee and hot chocolate to recharge themselves. Customers will be able to charge their devices this week at the following locations:

Pullman Square
Huntington
898 3rd Avenue
10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
Noon – 5 p.m., Sunday

Hurricane
4194 State Route 34
10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
Noon – 5 p.m., Sunday

Logan
123 Prosperity Lane
10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
Noon – 5 p.m., Sunday

Charleston
3000 Charleston Town Center
10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
12:30 – 6 p.m., Sunday

South Charleston
40 RHL Boulevard
10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
Noon – 5 p.m., Sunday

Triadelphia
500 Cabela Drive
10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday

Parkersburg
2054 Murdoch Avenue
9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday

Parkersburg
2837 Pike Street
10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday
Grand Central Mall in Vienna (next to the Food Court)

Parkersburg
100 Grand Central Ave
10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Saturday; 
Noon – 6 p.m., Sunday

UPDATE: 11/4/12 @ 1 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Lights and heat are now back on for thousands of West Virginians.

Since Superstorm Sandy utility crews have been working around the clock.

Appalachian Power reports just about 1,000 are without power now in the Mountain State.

According to First Energy's website, some 30, 000 people in West Virginia with Mon Power still have no electricity Sunday.


UPDATE: 11/4/12 @ 1 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) --Utility crews continue to restore power to thousands in West Virginia who have been left in the dark for nearly a week since Superstorm Sandy.

Approximately 53,000 customers were without power on Sunday, down from Saturday's total of about 65,000 customers.

FirstEnergy's website says that 37,795 remain without power, while Appalachian Power reports 15,400 customers in the dark.

More than one-quarter million customers were without power at the height of Sandy.


UPDATE: 11/3/12 @ 9 p.m.
The number of people still without power has dropped significantly in West Virginia.

More than 225,000 were left in the dark when the superstorm ripped through the region, but slowly things are starting to get back to normal.

Right now, about 17,000 are without power in the mountain state. Fayette County has the most with a little less than 1,300 AEP customers out. The number in Boone County is about 900 and in Kanawha County more than 700 customers.

That doesn't even count the people with Mon Power. Last check, First Energy's website says more than 48,000 are still without power.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for updates.



UPDATE 11/2/12 @ 10:40 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- About 95,000 homes and businesses throughout West Virginia remain without power late Friday night as a result of Superstorm Sandy, according to the latest briefing from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.



UPDATE 11/2/12 @ 12:10 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ/AP) – A little more than 100,000 homes and businesses across West Virginia remain without power in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Appalachian Power says that crews and outside workers have been able to restore power to approximately 145,000 customers since the storm hit earlier in the week.

Outages peaked on Tuesday at 182,000 customers and 37,000 remain without power as of 11:15 Friday morning.

That includes 6.200 in Boone County, 4,771 in Kanawha County, 4,500 in Fayette County, 3,100 in Raleigh County, and 2,637 in Lincoln County.

Restoration estimates vary, but Appalachian Power has said some customers might remain without power until Sunday night

FirstEnergy's website said Friday morning that more than 64,000 customers of Mon Power and Potomac Edison are without electricity.

Nearly 24,000 of those are in Preston and Randolph counties, alone. The other hardest-hit counties include Barbour, Nicholas, Webster and Upshur counties.



UPDATE 11/1/12 @ 10 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Utility crews are working to restore power to more than 108,000 customers in West Virginia.

Throughout the day on Thursday, Appalachian Power crews and outside workers were able to restore power to approximately 28,000 customers, which is in addition to the 105,000 restored since the storm hit earlier in the week.

Appalachian Power says it has about 36,106 outages in West Virginia.

Most of these outages are in Boone, Fayette, Lincoln, Kanawha, Raleigh and Wyoming counties.

FirstEnergy's website says more than 72,000 customers of Mon Power and Potomac Edison are without electricity Thursday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/1/12 @ 4 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Utility crews are working to restore power to more than 136,875 customers in West Virginia.

FirstEnergy's website says more than 77,580 customers of Mon Power and Potomac Edison are without electricity Thursday.

A Mon Power spokesman had no estimate on when power would be restored.

Appalachian Power says it has about 59,290 outages, including 11,620 in Kanawha County.

Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye says service would be restored by Friday night in Beckley, Bluefield, Hamlin, Hico, Huntington, Logan, Pineville, Point Pleasant, Ripley, Wayne, Welch, and Williamson.

Service is expected to be restored by Sunday night in some other areas, including Charleston and Madison.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 11/1/12 @ 11:35 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Power is slowly coming back on in Kanawha County.

As of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Appalachian Power reports more than 13,000 are still without power due to Superstorm Sandy.

According to a news release, warming centers remain open in Kanawha County.

Shelters/Warming Stations Open
Aldersgate United Methodist Church - Sissonville
Salvation Army - Charleston
Hansford Senior Center - St. Albans

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/1/12 @ 10:58 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Utility crews are working to restore power to 148,000 customers in West Virginia.

FirstEnergy's website says more than 80,000 customers of Mon Power and Potomac Edison are without electricity Thursday. A majority of its customers in Barbour, Braxton, Clay, Nicholas, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur and Webster counties had no power. Preston County had the most outages at 13,400.

A Mon Power spokesman had no estimate on when power would be restored.

Appalachian Power says it has about 68,000 outages, including 13,500 in Kanawha County.

Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye says service would be restored by Friday night in Beckley, Bluefield, Hamlin, Hico, Huntington, Logan, Pineville, Point Pleasant, Ripley, Wayne, Welch, and Williamson. Service is expected to be restored by Sunday night in some other areas, including Charleston and Madison.



UPDATE 11/1/12 @ 8:40 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A highways official says 40 percent of the roads in Nicholas County remain closed due to downed trees and snow from Superstorm Sandy.

State Department of Transportation acting district engineer Steve Cole in Lewisburg says 80 employees are clearing roads in the county, where snows drifts of up to 5 feet have been reported and numerous roofs have collapsed.

Cole says much progress on the roads was made Wednesday night, and he hopes to have all roads open in the county by Thursday night.

He says crews were hampered earlier in the week by falling trees that clogged roads that had just been cleared.

Elsewhere in the state, about 33 roads remain closed, including 19 in Kanawha County. Also still closed is U.S. Route 250 in Barbour and Randolph counties.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/31/12 @ 5:20 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Estimated restoration times have been released for areas in West Virginia.

90 percent of customers should be restored by the following times and areas, however, these are estimates and could change depending on further assessment of our electrical facilities and ongoing inclement weather in some areas:

West Virginia
Sunday midnight

  • Charleston
  • Glasgow
  • Madison
  • Milton
  • Walgrove

    Friday night

  • Beckley
  • Bluefield
  • Hamlin
  • Hico
  • Huntington
  • Logan
  • Pineville
  • Pt. Pleasant
  • Ripley
  • Wayne
  • Welch
  • Williamson

    Areas that are not listed are still in the process of being assessed, therefore restoration times are unavailable at this time.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/31/12 @ 2:33 p.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Power is slowly coming back on for some families in Kanawha County.

    Currently, AEP is reporting there are 28,404 customers without power in the county.

    The largest outage areas are in Charleston city limits, South Hills and Kanawha City, as well as Sissonville and the St. Albans area, according to a news release.

    County leaders say AEP is estimating the power will not be restored until Sunday, November 4.

    Leaders also encourage people without power and who do not have generators to find alternative shelter.

    Shelters will remain open during the significant power outage.

    Shelters/Warming Stations Open
    Aldersgate United Methodist Church - Sissonville
    Salvation Army - Charleston
    Hansford Senior Center - St. Albans

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/31/12 @ 11:50 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Some areas of Kanawha County could be without power through Sunday.

    Nearly 30,000 people in Kanawha County are without power.

    According to a news release, AEP is reporting this is a long duration event with power outages.

    AEP is still assessing all outages and there are not specific estimates on restoral times for specific areas, according to the release.

    Shelters will remain open during the significant power outage.

    Shelters/Warming Stations Open
    Aldersgate United Methodist Church - Sissonville
    Salvation Army - Charleston
    Kannawha City Recreation Center - Charleston
    Hansford Senior Center - St. Albans
    St. Paul Church - Nitro

    35 people stayed in overnight shelters.

    Kanawha County Schools were closed Wednesday because of the power outages.

    Several roads are still impassable because trees and power lines are down. Right now, trees are blocking Wertz Avenue in Charleston.

    In Putnam County, the shelter at Calvary Baptist Church in Scott Depot has closed.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/31/12 @ 10:22 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A West Virginia legislative candidate and another Barbour County man have died in separate weather-related accidents. That brings to five the number of people killed in West Virginia due to superstorm Sandy.

    Barbour County Emergency Services Director Cindy Hart says both men were in their 60s and died Tuesday.

    George Rose tells The Associated Press that one of the men was his father, John Rose Sr. The 60-year-old was checking fences on his deer farm when a falling tree limb struck him. Rose was a Republican House of Delegates candidate.

    Hart says another man died while shoveling snow Tuesday at his home in the Belington area.

    The storm also was blamed for the death of a 40-year-old woman whose car collided with a cement truck Monday in Tucker County.











    UPDATE 10/31/12 @ 7:45 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Shelters remain open in Kanawha County after Superstorm Sandy caused blizzard conditions that knocked out power to tens of thousands of people.

    As of 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, 29,281 are without power in Kanawha county.

    The outage numbers are slowing decreasing, but shelters will remain open until power is restored.

    35 people stayed in overnight shelters. The shelters will remain open Wednesday as warming stations.

    Shelters/Warming Stations Open
    Aldersgate United Methodist Church - Sissonville
    Salvation Army - Charleston
    Kannawha City Recreation Center - Charleston
    Hansford Senior Center - St. Albans
    St. Paul Church - Nitro

    Kanawha County Schools were closed Wednesday because of the power outages.

    Several roads are still impassable because trees and power lines are down. Right now, trees are blocking Wertz Avenue in Charleston.

    In Putnam County, the shelter at Calvary Baptist Church in Scott Depot has closed.

    State offices will be open Wednesday, with the exception of those closed due to power outages.

    According to a news release, state employees are to report to work at their normal business hours unless notified by their supervisor of a specific approved office closure.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/30/12 @ 11:30 p.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nearly 270,000 West Virginians remained without power Tuesday night in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a news release.

    "We are making great progress in clearing our roadways, but we continue to be faced with new challenges as the storm continues to affect the Mountain State," Tomblin said.

    He continued, "In the higher elevations, over 3 feet of snow has fallen, with snow continuing to fall in much of the state. I urge all West Virginians to please be patient as we work to clear our roads and restore our utilities. Our crews are working as quickly as possible."

    Throughout the state, a total of 26 shelters are open in Berkeley, Greenbrier, Jefferson, Kanawha, Monongalia, Morgan, Nicholas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Upshur and Wyoming counties. FEMA is bringing in 700,000 meals and 1.4 million liters of water that will be distributed across the state.

    As of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, AEP showed the following outage numbers in these West Virginia counties:

  • 2,975 – Wayne
  • 4,726 – Cabell
  • 7,996 – Lincoln
  • 5,103 – Putnam
  • 3,081 – Mingo
  • 10,231 – Boone
  • 36,573 – Kanawha
  • 12,316 – Fayette
  • 3,971 – Logan
  • 1,259 – Mason
  • 2,181 – Roane
  • 1,557 – Clay
  • 2,309 – Nicholas
  • 10,114 – Raleigh
  • 2,736 – Jackson

    National Guard troops are working with county emergency offices. Community assessment teams are going door to door to check on state residents. West Virginians should call 911 if they have an emergency.

    Tomblin asks West Virginians to check on their neighbors and help each other out.



    UPDATE 10/30/12 @ 3:12 p.m.
    FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Gov. Steve Beshear has declared a state of emergency in Kentucky in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

    Beshear said in an emergency declaration Tuesday that the storm has caused an emergency of national scope.

    Beshear signed an executive order Monday expediting the transportation of emergency supplies to storm victims.

    The order directs the Transportation Cabinet to waive special registration and permit requirements for vehicles carrying relief supplies such as food, water and medicine. The waiver also applies to utility vehicles that are responding to power outages or removing debris.

    Such vehicles don't have to pay permit fees for oversized or overweight vehicles.



    UPDATE @ 11:55 a.m.
    NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ & AP) -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says the roofs of at least three homes in Nicholas County collapsed under the weight of heavy snow.

    No injuries were reported in the incidents. West Virginia National Guard troops helped the residents of the homes get to local shelters.

    More than two dozen inches of snow has fallen in some parts of Nicholas County.

    Richwood Mayor Bob Johnson tells WSAZ.com city crews are out trying to clear the streets, but the snow is still falling faster than it can be cleared. The mayor expects another foot of snow this afternoon in Richwood.

    As of noon, most of the town remains in the dark. The town lost power about 1:50 a.m. Tuesday.

    Power lines are down across Nicholas County. The mayor says power lines are down blocking traffic from entering the town from Edgewood Avenue. Route 39 east of Richwood is also impassable due to fallen trees.

    Mayor Johnson says the town doesn't have a backup generator for the town's water supply. Right now, the town is using reserves in storage tanks until crews can get on the hill to access the tanks.

    For residents without power, the town has set up a shelter at the Richwood Food and Clothing Pantry at the Cherry River Plaza.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE @ 11:50 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- With nearly 6 million on the East Coast without power, Kanawha County officials are encouraging those without power to plan ahead.

    Officials say those without power should prepare to have supplies for at least 72 hours, which would include water and non-perishable food items, medications, batteries, flashlights and emergency contact information.

    The county has set up several shelters in Kanawha County, including Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Sissonville, Salvation Army at Roane and Tennessee Avenue in Charleston, and the Kanawha City Rec Center, all of which will be overnight shelters.

    The Hansford Center in St. Albans is also open as a shelter.

    The county is currently working to open a shelter in the eastern part of the county.

    In Dunbar, the Nazarene church at the corner of 16th Street and Lightner Avenue is open to anyone in the Dunbar area who is without power, according to the city clerk.

    Nearly 35,000 people are without power in Kanawha County. The majority of those without power appear to be in the Charleston area and western portion of the county.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/20/12 @ 10:45 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nearly 35,000 people are without power in Kanawha County.

    The majority of those without power appear to be in the Charleston area and western portion of the county.

    So far the county has set up at least three shelters to help those in need.

    According to a news release, a shelter will open at noon at the Aldersgate United Methodist in Sissonville. Another shelter will open at 1 p.m. at the Salvation Army at Roane and Tennessee Avenue in Charleston.

    In Dunbar, the Nazarene church at the corner of 16th Street and Lightner Avenue is open to anyone in the Dunbar area who is without power, according to the city clerk.

    Road conditions in and around Charleston continue to be ice and snow covered. Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies tell WSAZ.com drivers should stay off the roads. Multiple accidents have been reported since 10 a.m.

    Metro 911 has answered 1,100 calls since 2 a.m. when the snow started falling.

    Calls received have included 5 accidents with injuries, 12 accidents with no injuries, 26 power lines down, 16 power line fires and 25 trees down, according to dispatchers.

    The EOC is open and available to take non-emergency calls form the public at 304-756-8748 or 304-746-8743. Please only contact 911 if you have an emergency.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE @ 9:15 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Highways officials say at least 33 roads are closed in West Virginia due to Superstorm Sandy, including Interstate 68 from Morgantown to the Maryland line.

    State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Leslie Fitzwater says snow, ice, high water, and downed trees and power lines have kept crews extra busy Tuesday morning.

    Fitzwater says residents should stay off roads to allow highway and other crews to clear the roads and get to people who need the most assistance.

    Other road closures include U.S. 250 in Barbour and Randolph county, U.S. 219 and state Route 38 in Tucker County, and state Route 39 in Nicholas County. Schools are closed in at least 39 counties.

    The state is currently under a State of Emergency.

    Early Tuesday morning President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration for the state. This allows FEMA and Department of Homeland Security to offer relief to those hit hardest during this storm.

    Blizzard conditions are being reported in Raleigh County where snow totals are in the double digits. Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com snow is still coming down just as fast as crews are plowing.

    Snow is also covering the West Virginia Turnpike from Charleston to Beckley, according to dispatchers. Several minor accidents have been reported in that area. Drivers are urged to use extreme caution.

    The Kanawha Valley is also experiencing a messy morning commute. 911 Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com ice and slush are the biggest concerns along Interstate 64 in and around Charleston.

    More than 128,000 customers in West Virginia are without power.

    First Energy reports more than 88,000 outages in northern and eastern West Virginia.

    In southern West Virginia, Appalachian Power reports more than 39,000 outages.

    The Huntington Mall is currently closed due to no power.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/30/12 @ 5:40 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ & AP) -- The effects of Hurricane Sandy are being felt far inland, including throughout West Virginia.

    The state is currently under a State of Emergency.

    Early Tuesday morning President Obama signed a federal disaster declaration for the state. This allows FEMA and Department of Homeland Security to offer relief to those hit hardest during this storm.

    Blizzard conditions are being reported in Raleigh County.

    By 6 a.m. Tuesday, snow totals were already in the double digits. Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com snow is still coming down just as fast as crews are plowing.

    Snow is also covering the West Virginia Turnpike from Charleston to Beckley, according to dispatchers. Several minor accidents have been reported in that area. Drivers are urged to use extreme caution.

    The Kanawha Valley is also experiencing a messy morning commute. 911 Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com ice and slush are the biggest concerns along Interstate 64 in and around Charleston.

    More than 128,000 customers in West Virginia are without power.

    First Energy reports more than 88,000 outages in northern and eastern West Virginia.

    In southern West Virginia, Appalachian Power reports more than 39,000 outages.

    Officials say unlike the Derecho, this storm came with warning and they're hoping the time spent preparing will mean less time in the dark.

    Crews are already in place to start restoring power.

    According to the governor's office, non-essential employees with the state are being told to stay at home and off the roads.

    Meanwhile, millions along the East Coast are also awaking without power or mass transit, with huge swaths of the nation's largest city unusually vacant and dark.

    New York was among the hardest hit, with its financial heart in Lower Manhattan shuttered for a second day and seawater cascading into the still-gaping construction pit at the World Trade Center.

    The storm that made landfall in New Jersey on Monday evening with 80 mph sustained winds killed at least 16 people in seven states.

    It cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses from the Carolinas to Ohio, caused scares at two nuclear power plants and stopped the presidential campaign cold.

    The massive storm reached well into the Midwest. Chicago officials warned residents to stay away from the Lake Michigan shore as the city prepares for high winds and large waves.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/29/12 @ 11:35 p.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ & AP) -- The effects of Superstorm Sandy were being felt far inland Monday night, including throughout West Virginia and into our region.

    In Kanawha County, Emergency Management Director Dale Petry has placed the Kanawha County Emergency Response Team on standby due to the rapidly changing weather conditions Monday night.

    Falling temperatures were causing rain to change to snow in some locations, even along U.S. 119 in southern West Virginia where accidents were reported.

    A woman died on snow-covered roads in Tucker County, which is in the northeastern part of West Virginia.

    Meanwhile, at least 49,000 customers have lost electricity in West Virginia as high wind gusts and heavy, wet snow peppered much of the state.

    FirstEnergy's website says nearly 38,000 Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers were without service Monday night across 39 counties. The hardest-hit areas were 9,100 outages in Berkeley County and 4,900 in Randolph.

    Appalachian Power says more than 11,000 outages were spread across seven southern counties Monday night. Among the outages were about 3,700 customers in Fayette County and nearly 2,000 customers in Nicholas County, or about 73 percent of the utility's customers in that county.

    Wind gusts of 58 mph have been reported in Martinsburg and 40 mph in Bluefield and Petersburg.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/29/12 @ 2:15 p.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Hurricane Sandy is gaining strength and has taken a left turn toward the East Coast and its date with two other weather systems.

    An official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling it "the worst-case scenario."

    The storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending almost 500 miles from its center, is expected to blow ashore along the New Jersey coast tonight or early tomorrow. Combined with high tides and a full moon, it brings the fear of a huge surge of seawater.

    The combined storm is expected to affect everyone from the East Coast to the Great Lakes, with up to 3 feet of snow forecast for the West Virginia mountains.

    Snow plows are out in the southern Appalachian mountains, beginning what could be a long week of snow.

    The early snowfall in higher elevations could be a boom for the area's ski resorts, which have sometimes struggled to keep their slopes open.

    Forecasters in West Virginia expanded a blizzard warning for high winds and heavy, wet snow. No significant power outages were reported as of Monday afternoon.

    Farther south in Boone, N.C., as much as a foot of snow is expected. Sugar Mountain spokeswoman Kim Jochl says the ski resort plans to open by Halloween, the earliest opening ever in 43 years of operation.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/29/12 @ 11:50 a.m.
    NICHOLAS COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The state of West Virginia has activated the state's Emergency Operations Center.

    The center was activated at noon today.

    State officials have been working around the clock making preparations to handle the impacts and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

    This center will coordinate statewide assistance to cities, counties and emergency responders.

    Snowy Conditions in Nicholas, Schools Dismissing Early
    Nicholas County Schools are dismissing three hours early Monday due to the snow that's falling in the area.

    Nicholas is just one of 14 counties under a blizzard warning Monday due to Hurricane Sandy colliding with another winter storm.

    Snow has been falling all morning in Nicholas County.

    According to a news release, some locations in the higher elevations of Nicholas County are reporting a few inches on the grass and elevated surfaces. Right now, roads in Nicholas are just wet.

    Storm Closes W.Va. Parks, Campgrounds, Trails
    In Fayette County, the New River Gorge National River Visitor Centers, Campgrounds, and Trails will close at noon Monday due to the storm, according to a news release.

    The closures remain in effect until further notice.

    Hurricane Sandy Latest
    Meanwhile, forecasters say Hurricane Sandy is about 310 miles southeast of New York City, and the center of the storm is expected to be near the mid-Atlantic coast tonight.

    The National Hurricane Center said early today that the storm has top sustained winds of 85 mph, with higher gusts. It is moving toward the north-northwest at 20 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 175 miles from the storm's center.

    Sandy is on track to collide with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.

    Major metropolitan areas from Washington to Boston are bracing for what is expected to be a superstorm that could menace some 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the nation.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/29/12 @ 7:30 a.m.
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Hurricane Sandy has gained strength as it swirls toward the East Coast.

    The National Hurricane Center says the hurricane's wind speed increase early today to 85 mph with additional strengthening possible.

    Sandy has forced the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sent coastal residents fleeing for higher ground, and threatens to bring a dangerous mix of high winds, soaking rain and a surging wall of water.

    Sandy has stayed on a predicted path that could take it over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York on its way to a collision course with two other weather systems, creating a superstorm with the potential for havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.

    That's why a blizzard warning has been expanded to at least 14 counties in West Virginia.

    The National Weather Service has added Greenbrier, Pendleton and portions of Grant and Mineral counties to the list of those that will get high winds and heavy, wet snow, including as much as 2 feet on the highest ridge tops.

    Also included in the blizzard warning through Wednesday morning are Fayette, McDowell, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Tucker, Webster and Wyoming counties.

    Mercer, Summers and Monroe counties are under a winter storm warning for up to 8 inches of snow.

    The weather service says eastern parts of the state can expect to get 2 to 6 inches of rain.

    Schools are closed in at least 11 counties Monday as the massive storm moves through the state.

    Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



    UPDATE 10/29/12 @ 12:50 a.m.
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Meteorologists are keeping an eye on a monster storm bearing down on the eastern seaboard. Hurricane Sandy is spawning a stormy situation like never before.

    Hundreds of thousands in New York are under mandatory orders to evacuate the city. 370,000 people who live in low lying areas are packing up and heading out. All bus and subway lines have been shut down.

    Long lines are forming at gas stations, especially on Staten Island. Currently, only premium is left, however some stations have already run out entirely.

    New York's Governor wants those in the most vulnerable areas out before Sandy arrives.

    Flight delays could be felt today at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. Some flights have already been canceled. It's affecting other flights in and out of new york city.

    In Charleston and Huntington, delays can be expected. Airport officials say check with your airline about cancellations or delays.

    On North Carolina's Outerbanks -- winds of about 50 mph tattered flags as the rain pelted down. There's been reports of flooded roads and erosion along the coast. Several highways have been shut down because of rough conditions. People along the carolina coast are urged to stay indoors and off the roads.

    Preparing for power outages, Appalachian Power says it has already set a plan in motion. More than 350 workers have been recruited from sister companies and are in West Virginia. They'll be moving into place Monday.

    Appalachian Power is urging people have an emergency kit ready. Flash lights, batteries, candles, your smart phone are important to have so you're prepared if the lights go out.

    We'll be here on WSAZ.com keeping you covered throughout the storm and its aftermath. Also on television on WSAZ NewsChannel 3 and My-Z.

    On your iPhone, iPad or smartphone, download our mobile app by going to the app store and searching "WSAZ" then press download. Remember this is your only way to stay informed if the power goes out. We also will be constantly updating our Twitter and Facebook pages.



    ORIGINAL STORY
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Hurricane Sandy is rapidly raging northward and will soon bring rain and snow to our region.

    Sandy is still at hurricane strength bringing furious winds howling at 75 miles per hour and giant waves.

    It's expected to dump rain and snow along much of the eastern seaboard.

    A winter storm watch is already in affect for three West Virginia counties. The hurricane is expected to clash with a winter storm, dumping several inches of snow in the mountains of West Virginia.

    Already thousands are preparing for Sandy's impact. In Washington D.C. store shelves at one grocery store are bare.

    People are flocking to stores to stick up on staple items like bread, bottled water and canned goods.

    The storm is expected to push to the west over the next couple of days. Meteorologists say this is the first time in history a storm has formed in this fashion.

    First responders in Ironton got that call to help out. The Patriot EMS team is headed to the east coast. FEMA requested the aid expecting destruction from Hurricane Sandy. Last year, the team helped out during Hurricane Irene. The crew went through rigorous training to become part of the FEMA emergency response list.

    Refineries along the east coast are putting emergency plans in place as they prepare. The storm could potentially hit six east coast refineries that produce more than one million barrels of oil each day. The storm threat has boosted both gasoline and heating oil prices.

    We will have team coverage of Hurricane Sandy as it approaches and moves through our region. Tune in to NewsChannel 3 at six Sunday and keep up to date on our Facebook, Twitter and WSAZ.com.

    Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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