UPDATE 7/1/12 @ 5:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- All major roads are open and utility companies are working around the clock to restore power to those affected by Friday's storm.
According to a news release, progress is being made every hour -- current outages are down to 493,000 in West Virginia from the initial report of 688,000.
"I know the past few days have been very trying for folks across West Virginia, and unfortunately, the problems we are facing will not be resolved overnight," said Gov. Tomblin. "I can assure you that our emergency management officials and power companies are working around the clock to get things cleaned up. I'd ask that all West Virginians continue to check on their friends and family, stay off the roads as much as possible, and most important, that everyone remain calm."
The governor says the West Virginia National Guard has health and wellness assessment teams on the ground going door to door checking on those affected by the storms.
The governor has also asked essential state employees to report for work Monday, July 2, 2012 because of the continued power outages and the limited amount of gas stations currently operating.
According to a news release, the governor asks those employees not required to work Monday to avoid unnecessary travel while emergency crews and utility companies continue to aid those in need.
For more information, state employees can call (304) 558-9117 or (888) 558-9117.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for more information.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin placed the state under a State of Emergency. He says 53 of 55 counties in the state were affected by power outages, one of the most extensive power outages in the state and that it will take several days to get the power back on.
"We're moving as quickly as we can but people's got to be patient because it's going to take several days to get the power back on," Tomblin said.
FEMA is shipping in generators and water to the area.
Tomblin asks that residents stay off the highways unless there is an emergency, "Please stay off the highways unless it's an emergency so the power companies and the department of highways can get out there and get their jobs done."
Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper says 75% of Kanawha County residents are without power.
Carper says there were 250 senior citizens who had to be transported from nursing homes to local universities. "The heat is the challenge right now, especially for seniors and for those who aren't able to tolerate the heat like a lot of us can," Carper said.
Adjutant General James Hoyer with the West Virginia National Guard spoke at the press conference. He said the National Guard is focusing on life safety first including hospitals, nursing homes and people on oxygen.
Hoyer says first responders are having trouble getting out to help, "We've got a lot of first responders -- EMS workers, police officers, guardsmen, who are still trying to cut their way out to get to their duty station."
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says, "There's so many arteries are clogged because of the trees that are down and the trees -- we're having trouble moving because of the wires that are wrapped around the trees."
Jones also said people are panicking when it comes to food, "There's not a restaurant that's open that doesn't have a full parking lot. Every single one of them."
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