FRIDAY WEATHER UPDATE: State of Emergency Declared in WV; Hundreds of Thousands Without Power

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE: 6/30/12 @ 1:15 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency following Friday night’s powerful storms.

An estimated 500,000 people are without power in W.Va. in at least 27 counties.

Daytime shelters are being set up for people without power.

In Kanawha County, shelters will open at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
The locations are the Kanawha City Recreation Center, the King Center on Donnally Street and the North Charleston Recreation Center.

The American Red Cross will be setting up shelters in other areas. You can contact your local Red Cross shelter for more information.

In Ohio, there are currently more than 1 million power customers without electricity.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
HUNTINGTON/CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Power crews throughout Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia say they are dealing Friday night with hundreds of downed power lines and trees -- affecting thousands of customers throughout our viewing area.

AEP officials say it could be nearly a day before power is restored to some areas. They say the full scope of the outage isn't known because so many people are affected. Emergency 911 centers throughout the region have been in touch with them about the situation.

Severe storms rolled throughout the region Friday evening, causing widespread destruction.

CNN is reporting that 1 million people throughout six states, including in our area, are without power. In West Virginia alone, there are reports of 300,000 without power.

Phil Moye, an AEP spokesman, said that represents 60 percent of AEP customers throughout the Mountain State.

In Kanawha County, 911 officials said they had received 1,917 calls Friday night alone.

Crews were dispatched to Yeager Airport where a plane was reported up against the airport. The plane had been flipped over by winds in excess of 75 mph -- the strength of a minimal hurricane.

The winds also caused damage to the main terminal at Yeager Airport.

Airport officials say the small private plane flipped over in front of the private terminal.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Airport officials also say the powerful winds damaged the roof on the main terminal at Yeager Airport. Spokesman Brian Belcher tells WSAZ.com the roof damage is over top the administrative conference room.

Viewers told WSAZ.com earlier that the roof had come off the Stamping Plant in Kanawha County.

Emergency officials in Kanawha County are determining where shelters can be opened for those without power and need assistance due to extreme heat. They say, if you have a safe route and can seeks shelter elsewhere at friends or families homes with power, they encourage you to do so. it is likely power will remain off for next few days.

Understandably, 911 dispatchers in the area have been swamped, along with emergency crews and law enforcement. They ask that you only call is you have an emergency.

Dispatchers in Putnam and Wayne counties in West Virginia said their phone lines never went down and their lines rang continuously all evening.

It was a similar situation in Cabell County W.Va.; fortunately, though, no weather-related injuries were reported.

Huntington Mayor Kim Wolfe said there will be extra patrols throughout the night to assess the situation and to help keep people safe.

In West Huntington, there were reports of a large tree down on West Middle School in Huntington.

In downtown Huntington, there are reports that the windows were blown out at Magic Makers and Bill Spurlock Dodge had windows busted out of vehicles.

There are reports that a car was smashed by a tree along Washington Boulevard in the 1600 block.

In Ravenswood, W.Va., in Jackson County, the Ritchie Bridge that connects Ravenswood with Ohio is shut down after a construction canopy along the top span collapsed.

In Kentucky, state transportation officials say multiple state highways are either closed or restricted to one lane in several locations due to downed trees and power lines.

Impacted roads include: KY 168, KY 3294, US 23, US 60 and others in Boyd County; and KY 2, KY 503 and KY 750 in Greenup County. Near Russell, US 23 is closed in both directions, and could remain closed for several hours or possibly overnight due to multiple utility poles down. All US 23 traffic is being detoured through Flatwoods via KY 207 and KY 693 (Diedrich Boulevard), but motorists are cautioned to remain watchful for debris on those routes.

Emergency officials say if you come up on a power line along the road, do not driver over it.

In Ohio, high winds have been reported, along with power outages and several trees down. In Wellston, Ohio, it was reported that the roof flew off the VFW and landed on a car.

Homes and businesses took a hit in Lawrence County, Ohio.

Cathy McGuire thought the weather had been bad the past couple days. She went out Friday to get a new air conditioner to help with the stifling heat, but while she and her fiancé were out shopping, the storm ripped the roof completely off their mobile home.

Part of the roof was blown on top of nearby power lines in Pedro.

"The only thing we have are our clothes and what we can save," Cathy's fiancé Brian Murrell said.

There also was a tree into the Oak Hill Senior Citizen Center in Ohio.

Gallia County 911 officials ask people to call 740-446-0068 for reports of trees and debris in roadways. For reports of emergencies and downed power lines, they're asking you call 740-446-3126.

Give us a call at 304-690-3069 to report damage.

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