One year later: Local residents recall derecho

PARKERSBURG – For many people it will be hard to forget where they were and what they were doing on the evening of June 29, 2012.

Many were at home going through their normal routine, shopping or doing other activities.

After the storm hit they had to face varying amounts of time without power, some for a few hours and others were dark for days and weeks.

Charles Lyon of Parkersburg experienced the storm up close while in his car.

“I was right in the middle of it,” he said. “I was driving down Grand Central Avenue. It knocked out a power transformer and the car started going sideways. All I could see there was a white wall and all around it was nothing but dark.”

On his way home, Lyon said he had to dodge downed trees and other debris and it took longer than usual to get home.

“The intersections were kind of scary with no traffic lights,” he said.

For Christal Archer of Parkersburg the aftermath of the storm lingered for days.

“I actually thought we’d had a tornado,” she said. “When the power went out we actually slept on our porch since it was so hot. It was like a camping trip in the city.”

Archer said she was in a small area that was without power for several days while others had power restored.

“It was weird, our neighbors across the street had electric, but our side of the street was without electric,” she said.

For Charlene Cornell of Parkersburg the night of the storm was just another Friday evening

“My son and I were sitting at home and all of a sudden that storm came up,” she said. “We went out on the back porch and the next thing we knew the tree next door fell over and we went back in the house.”

Kenny Metz of Parkersburg was in the middle of a shopping trip with his wife when the storm arrived.

“I was in Sam’s Club when it hit, I didn’t really see anything,” he said. “We came out and there was stuff everywhere, it looked like a bomb went off. The power was out in the store.”

Metz said he could hear the rain coming down on the roof.

“The lights flickered the first time and I told my wife if that happens again we will be in trouble,” he said. “You could hear the rain and wind and they went out again and the emergency lights came on.”

At home Metz said he had a generator to keep some things running.

Candance Hall of Parkersburg was without electric for a little more than a day

“I thought it was going to be a nasty storm when it was approaching,” she said. “We were only without power for 26 or 27 hours. so we were fortunate.”

Hall said she lit the night with candles.

“We stayed in one room and opened up the doors and windows to get air in the cool the place down,” she said.

Greg Bailey of Parkersburg, said he watched the storm approach from his house.

“I sat on my porch and watched that storm come in,” he said. “I called the duty officer at Fire Station No. 1 and asked him ,’What do you know about that storm,’ and he said, ‘What I can tell you is this – Parkersburg made the Weather Channel.’ I went back in the house.”

Bailey said he was without power for about 18 hours, but he noticed houses near him in all directions were dark for four to five days.

“Some of them were within two of three blocks of me,” he said.

James Wigal, of Parkersburg, said he missed most of the storm.

“I slept through most of it; when I woke up there was no power. The wind had come and gone before I was up,” he said. “I was without electric power for about 12 hours,”

Steven Drain of Parkersburg was in a dangerous situation but safely made it home.

“When the storm hit me and some others were in a camper trailer,” he said. “When it was over we got out of there and went home.”