BREAKING: Thousands without power; update from AEP

posted by Caroline J. Cook - 

Appalachian Power Storm Response Update

Friday, March 2, 2018 – 10:30 a.m.

Situation

A ferocious wind storm battered West Virginia and Virginia late Thursday into Friday, producing multiple outages. Many Appalachian Power customers in the Mountain State were left in the dark this morning as powerful winds led to downed wires, damaged poles and fallen trees.

While the wind has calmed in West Virginia, strong squalls of more than 60 MPH continue to impact much of Appalachian’s Virginia service territory, damaging electrical facilities and leaving customers without power. In Botetourt County, the Trinity substation was knocked offline by tree debris. Multiple crews are working to install a mobile transformer to restore power to those customers affected.

More outages are expected in Virginia as the high winds continue to hammer the state throughout the day.

Weather

In the Christiansburg and Roanoke areas of Virginia, strong winds at 30-40 MPH, with frequent gusts of 50-60 MPH, and a few peak gusts to 70 MPH will continue today into this evening. The long duration of strong winds along with moisture-saturated soil will likely cause healthy trees to fall from outside the rights-of-way and damage poles and wires.

Meanwhile, the threat of damaging winds has ended in other parts of the Appalachian Power service territory.

 

Outages

More than 79,000 customers are currently without power, with 64,000+ of those customers in Virginia. That number is expected to swell as the brutal winds continue to pound the Virginia service territory today.

In West Virginia, about 12,000 are without power, with the largest concentration of outages in Mercer (3,400), Kanawha (2,800) and Fayette (1,100) counties.

Storm Restoration Efforts

Due to continuing high winds, Appalachian Power is still assessing storm damages. While wind gusts remain dangerously high, crews cannot safely make repairs or work from buckets or on poles. Until assessors can provide a clearer picture of the amount of damage caused by the storm, and until the storm passes, we are unable to provide restoration estimates with degrees of accuracy.

Already, the company has secured some additional help from Kentucky Power and AEP Ohio, with some crews rolling into heavily damaged areas today.

Safety Message

Never remove debris that's within 10 feet of a power line. Under no circumstances operate lanterns, heaters, or fuel-fired stoves without proper ventilation.

Additional safety tips are posted at https://www.appalachianpower.com/outages/faq/OutageSafetyTips.aspx.

For More Information

Customers can get specific information about their outages via text message and/or email by subscribing to Appalachian Power outage alerts. To sign up, please visit www.appalachianpower.com/alerts.

A snapshot view of current outages is available at www.appalachianpower.com/outagemap.


For updates and breaking news, visit ABC-13 WSET.

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