High wind alerts put crews on standby for Saturday

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - With the winds reaching as high as 60 mph expected Saturday morning, everyone from Appalachian Power to 911 centers to fire stations are getting ready for what’s coming.

Appalachian Power Spokesperson Karen Wissing said they’re bringing in crews from as far away as Texas in preparation.

“Right now we have at minimum about 3,300 personnel that are going to be ready to travel and to restore power as safely as it is to do so tomorrow,” she said.

At Kanawha County’s Metro 911 center, they’re also expecting a busy weekend.

“We’re staffing the 911 center with a few extra people,” Training Coordinator Derek Johnson said. “The Emergency Operation Center has also been placed on standby by emergency management in the event that the 911 center starts getting overloaded.”

With such high wind gusts, trees across the region are likely to fall.

South Charleston Fire Chief Virgil White said checking all their equipment before a big storm is imperative to make sure they’re ready for whatever may come.

“With a lot of rain, the soil starts getting a little loose so you got potential for rockslides and also trees uprooting,” he said.

While some people losing power is almost a certainty, Wissing wants to remind people that while they’ll be working as quickly as possible to restore power, they want to keep their crews safe.

We will not go into the field to restore power until it is safe to do so, and until the winds are lower than 30 mph we are not going to be putting our line workers in danger,” she said.

Most wind warnings are in effect until 6 p.m.