Storm tears through region, knocks out electricity

PARKERSBURG – A storm early Friday evening knocked out electricity to thousands of Mid-Ohio Valley residents and had crews removing trees from roads.

The storm dumped about a quarter of an inch of rain on the valley, said Andrew Beavers, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston. He said the strongest wind gusts of about 35 mph occurred around 3:40 p.m.

Vienna firefighters removed a tree blocking the road in the 2400 block of 10th Avenue around 4 p.m., said Fire Chief Steve Scholl. Firefighters were prepared for the worst but it took only a few minutes for crews to clear the road, he said.

“It wasn’t near as bad,” Scholl said of what firefighters were expecting. “We just cut (the tree limbs), threw them to the side and let the utility companies handle it from there.”

MonPower reported about 2,627 Wood County residents were without electricity around 5 p.m. About 3,401 customers were without power in Wirt County, while close to 5,000 customers lost electricity in Ritchie County, reports said.

AEP Ohio reported about 1,902 customers were without power in Washington County and 2,897 in Athens County into the evening. Outages in Washington County were resolved by 9:30 p.m., while Athens County was still reporting about 2,300 residents without power.

Firefighters responded to several calls in the Waverly area as well as offering mutual aid to Deerwalk and Eastwood Volunteer Fire Departments, said Max Barker, safety officer with the Waverly Volunteer Fire Department,.

“We’ve had at least four trees (to remove),” Barker said.

Barker said the fire department responded to a vehicle accident in the area of Emerson Avenue and West Virginia 31 as well as to assist a school bus stuck from downed trees on W.Va. 31.

Barker said the fire station was experiencing outages but crews were on the scene around 5:30 p.m. Friday to fix the problem. He said the power outages did not seem “widespread” and none of the calls they assisted with involved removing active power lines.

The storm seemed to hit when school buses were taking children home, Barker said.

Officials with the Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department said they didn’t have any calls about fallen trees, although there were power outages in the region.

Bo Wriston, director of emergency services in Wirt County, said close to 85 percent of customers in the county were left without electricity after the storm hit the area. He said officials believed the source of the problem to be major transmission lines, and power crews were working to correct the problem.

Allen Staggers, spokesman for MonPower, said the height of the storm was in the Parkersburg region and left about 14,000 of its customers without power. As of about 9 p.m. Friday, crews had restored power to about half of those customers, he said.

Power company officials hoped to have fewer than 500 customers affected throughout the region by midnight Friday, Staggers said. The downed lines seemed to be a result of high winds and trees, he said.

“We have additional crews heading to the Parkersburg area tomorrow (Saturday) to jump on any outages that remain from overnight,” Staggers said Friday night.

A firefighter with the Pennsboro Volunteer Fire Department said the majority of Ritchie County was without power Friday after the storm. Ellenboro and Harrisville Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched on one storm-related call each, he said.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office fielded 11 calls about downed trees, some of which also involved power lines, said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

In the 1000 block of Masonic Park Road in Devola, a Suddenlink cable line was down. It caused no damage, he said.

Along Ohio 7, a tree fell in the road near Broadway Street. Another fell near the B&J Carry Out in Newport.

Around 90 Browns Road, a tree hit a cable line and took it down.

On Fourth and Main streets in Grandview Township a tree fell on a power line which then fell on a house. Responders cut power to the house and no one was hurt, said Mincks.

Downed trees were reported on Archers Fork, County Road 9 near Zion Ridge Road, the 2000 block of Ohio 145, the 5600 block of Ohio 26, and at the intersection of Buchanan Road and Stiers Road in Waterford, Washington County.

Both an American Electric Power line and a Frontier Cable line went down across Ohio 821 near the Washington County line, according the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The sheriff’s office directed traffic there and had cleared the scene as of 9:30 p.m., said Mincks.