Power expected to return for most Friday

PARKERSBURG – Power will be restored by Friday night to most customers without electricity after Tuesday’s severe storm, a power company representative said Wednesday.

Most of the customers without electricity in Wood County were in Parkersburg, said Greg Hefner, a spokesman for Mon Power.

“The good news is we got 84 additional line crews coming into the Mon Power district,” Hefner said.

The additional crews represent 168 men, he said. Not everyone will be in Parkersburg, but a good many of the additional linemen will be working to repair damages in the city, Hefner said.

Mon Power planners Wednesday continued to assess damages to determine which repairs would restore power to the most number of customers, he said.

“We’re trying to identify larger blocks of customers,” Hefner said.

In Parkersburg, about 3,800 people were without electricity early Wednesday, he said.

“Wood County was the hardest hit county in the Mon Power footprint,” Hefner said.

The winds, measuring upward of 65 mph, broke poles and lines and caused trees to fall atop the power lines, he said. Many of the trees that fell were outside of the rights of way Mon Power maintains, Hefner said.

By late Wednesday afternoon, about 4,100 customers in Wood County remained without power, Hefner said.

The storm occurred around 2 p.m. One person was injured when a tree struck her at City Park and, although it has not been connected to the storm, a woman died of an apparent heart attack in a car at 20th and Liberty streets during the storm, officials said.

Immediately after the storm, about 71,000 customers in the Mon Power service district were without electricity, Hefner said. The number was down to 24,212 by Wednesday afternoon, he said.

“We’ve restored power to a lot of customers,” Hefner said.

The estimate is 95 percent of customers will have power restored by 11 p.m. Friday, he said.

A handful of customers remain without power in Washington County, according to American Electric Power. Most of the problems remaining for AEP were in Pomeroy and Gallipolis, only about 150 outages that were to be repaired by Wednesday evening.

While most of the damage was centered in Wood County and Parkersburg, damage of a lesser quantity also occurred in Wirt and Jackson counties. No accidents were reported in those counties, but highway crews in both counties were busy Wednesday clearing debris left behind.

Jason Nichols, supervisor of the Department of Highways in Wirt County, said there were no serious problems, although the storm knocked down 40 or 50 trees. Crews removed limbs and trees along the roads on Wednesday, he said

“I think we’ll have every thing back up and open and we’ll be in good shape,” he said.

About 320 customers were without power in Wirt County. Nichols thought many of those outages were in the West Virginia 53 area.

In Jackson County, assistant supervisor Larry Donohew said highway crews Wednesday removed branches and limbs that were cut Tuesday and piled along the roads.

“We have a few trees still down,” he said, adding no roads were closed. “We had quite a few down (Tuesday) and 10 or 12 pretty good-sized ones,” he said.

Customers with outages can call 1 888-LIGHTSS.