PARKERSBURG - The state continues to address massive power outages as many counties are coping with immediate concerns.
The West Virginia Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management reported there were still 450,000 to 460,000 outages statewide Monday while crews with First Energy and Appalachia Power are continuing to address concerns, said Terrance Lively, spokesperson with the WVHSEM.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency were busy delivering water to people around the state as another heat advisory was issued.
Eric Harvey digs out from tree limbs, which have fallen into his yard along Quincy Street in Parkersburg. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
''We want people to stay cool,'' Lively said. ''There are so many outages, and heat is a real concern right now.''
FEMA officials were also delivering generators to hospitals and water plants.
Lively said officials with Appalachia Power and First Energy have told them they will be working throughout the week to restore power.
Many of the major state highways are cleared of debris and crews are working on getting secondary roads cleared, she said.
Emergency officials in Ritchie County said progress was starting to be made Sunday on getting power restored to areas of Pennsboro, Harrisville and Ellenboro, as well as getting the 911 lines operational.
A derecho, an extremely violent and sustained windstorm, struck Friday evening and caused damage from Indianapolis to the East Coast.
However, the storm that moved through the area Sunday night knocked many locations back to a starting location, said James White, Ritchie County Emergency Services director.
At 7 a.m. Monday, the 911 lines were down again.
White said the southern part of Ritchie County took the brunt of Friday's storm while Harrisville took the brunt of Sunday's storm. Many trees and powerlines were knocked down and a number of brushfires were ignited.
''Heat has been the real issue,'' White said.
Cooling stations have been set up around the area with the Red Cross scheduled to set up a shelter Monday afternoon to evening, White said.
Local fire crews are helping to clear local roadways.
In Pleasants County, parts of St. Marys and Belmont have had power restored, but there were still around 5,000 people without power in Pleasants County, said Steve Knight, Pleasants County Emergency Services director.
Knight knows of one assisted living facility that is operating on a generator.
The local water system has been hit hard with the station on state Route 16 empty and one station, which serves part of St. Marys, being empty and the Union Williams PSD was in trouble. Knight added most of St. Marys and Belmont have water right now.
''The whole area is under a conserve water advisory,'' he said. The area was expecting a shipment of bottled water from the state sometime Monday.
Local grocery stores have been open to serve people however they could, although one lost a lot of frozen food items.
''Right now, everyone is looking for ice,'' Knight said. ''It is a little hard to come by.''
Many people are coping with the situation the best they can while a few complaints have been made by people who didn't think they were getting help quickly enough, Knight said.
Jackson County still has around 8,000 people without electricity Monday, but all of the public service districts are up and running and providing water to its customers, said Walter Smittle, Jackson County Emergency Services director. There are two substations in the northern part of Jackson County which will need a generator to be able to pump water to a couple areas, he added.
There is a lack of ice as all retailers are out and officials have had trouble getting oxygen for people who need it, Smittle said adding the state is working to resolve those issues.
No shelters are open in Jackson County as the Red Cross is stretched to the limit in other areas, but cooling stations are open during the day in Ripley, Ravenswood and Kenna.
''We are trying to keep people cool in this heatwave,'' Smittle said.
He is telling people who are going to seek assistance from FEMA to start getting their information together, but warns people to be on the lookout for possible scams. FEMA will set up meeting spots to process people's claims. They will not be going door to door, Smittle said. If anyone shows up at someone's house, the resident is advised to call law-enforcement or emergency services to have the person checked out. People may be going around posing as contractors offering to do repair work. Smittle said to check if they have a valid West Virginia contractor's license.
Wirt County residents remain without power as of late Monday, but all primary and secondary roads were clear, according to Bo Wriston with the county's office of emergency services.
"Everybody is still without power," he said.
Wriston said more than 2,700 residents were without power.
Wriston's hopeful power could be restored to critical infrastructure (the courthouse, fire department and grocery store and gas station) as quickly as possible.
Monday officials received 18,000 gallons of water and began distributing at the Wirt County Courthouse.
Wriston said the Elizabeth Water Plant is operating at 100 percent.
"There is no water shortage for Elizabeth customers and they do not anticipate any problems at this time," he said.
Wriston said officials have been in a request for seven dumpsters to allow residents to dispose of food stock to avoid public safety issues.
Officials have also requested portable electronic signboards to broadcast public information at major intersections in the county to notify and direct residents to distribution points.
The Copeland Clinic has been designated a cooling station and will be open until 9 p.m. daily. Wriston said it will also serve as a water distribution center.
The U.S. Army National Guard is inbound to Wirt, and officials have also notified the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
The Mountain State Art and Craft Fair in Ripley will open as scheduled on Thursday.
"There is power at Cedar Lakes, and workers will begin erecting tents today," she said.
"We want to reassure the public and the show's artisans, crafters and vendors that we'll be here and that we plan to have a full slate of attractions and activities."
The fair opens on Thursday and runs from 9-7 p.m. each day through Sunday.