UPDATE: Severe Storm Hits Tri-State, Leaving Damage Behind

By: Sarah Sager; Associated Press Email
By: Sarah Sager; Associated Press Email

UPDATE 6/21/11 @ 10:21 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A hard-hitting storm swept across the Tri-State Tuesday, leaving a lot of problems in its wake.

Lingering storm clouds didn't mean a lot to Westmoreland resident Pete Murphy, until he looked out his window Tuesday evening and saw a cloud of fire near his home.

"I heard an electrical noise. It sounded like it was bouncing off my house. I looked out the window and saw a fireball come from these transformers up here," Murphy said.

With the power out to many homes and businesses, David Story with AEP is working double time to fix the damage.

"There were several people that I've talked to so far that saw the flame and light when it lit up from the tree falling and getting the phases together," Story said.

In Ohio, a lightning strike had residents at Jo-Lin Health Center in Ironton, evacuating to different parts of the building.

Ironton Fire Department Capt. Mike Mahlmeister isn't sure if the bolt hit the building or the electrical system.

"It doesn't happen very often. We've had a few lightening strikes where we've had fires. It's not a very common occurrence, once every couple of years," Mahlmeister said.

A few towns over, more than 100 feet of roofing was ripped off a Burlington, Ohio, business.

"This building has been here 26 years. This is the first incident we've ever had," said Dale Manns, owner of Superior Marine.

With a ship soon to set sail, Manns is hoping the mess won't be there long.

"Once we get the power on we'll get some of this cleaned up. Hopefully we'll be ready to go with a full crew in the morning," Manns said.

No one was hurt in any of these incidents.

UPDATE 6/21/11 @ 10 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Severe thunderstorms have knocked out electricity to about 21,000 Appalachian Power customers in West Virginia.

The utility says on its website that nearly 5,600 customers lost service in Lincoln County on Tuesday night. Several thousand outages also were reported in Kanawha, Logan, Putnam and Wayne counties.

Several hundred customers also lost service in Mason, Mingo and Raleigh counties as the storms rolled through.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Severe thunderstorms packed a wallop Tuesday evening, downing trees, flooding roadways and knocking out power to thousands in our region.

According to American Electric Power, there are more than 2,700 people in Wayne County, W.Va., without power Tuesday night.

Elsewhere in West Virginia, power outages affected nearly 1,700 people in Logan County, more than 900 in Mingo County and almost 700 in Cabell County.

In southeastern Ohio, nearly 3,000 AEP customers are without power -- almost 2,000 in Scioto County.

In Huntington's Ritter Park, a tree fell on two cars on 13th Avenue. It was the second time in less than two months that a large tree has fallen in that area.

Downed tree limbs were reported throughout many parts of Huntington.

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