What The Derecho Left Behind
As of Monday afternoon, First Energy, the parent company of Mon Power and Potomac Edison in Northern West Virginia, was reporting about 160,000 outages in the state.
Spokesperson Todd Meyers says it is going to be the end of the week, at the earliest, before all of that service is restored.
“We have made significant progress, but it is slow, slower than we’d like,“ he said during an update on Monday’s MetroNews Talkline.
The reason for that, he says, has everything to do with the size of the storm.
“It was a massive front that had winds reaching close to 90 miles per hour in the Parkersburg area, sweeping across to 65 (mph), 70 (mph) in many areas,“ Meyers said.
Fifty transmission lines and 70 associated substations in Mon Power’s system were taken down during the derecho, the name for the storm we saw. “It’s a lot of our regional transmission infrastructure,“ Meyers said.
Damage is reported in 53 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
“I’ve been in the (West Virginia National) Guard for 31 years. Not since the 1985 flood have I seen so many counties affected at one time,“ state Adjutant General James Hoyer said.
“A lot of this is not physical damage that you can see. It’s the combination of lack of power and infrastructure and the heat.“
The President and CEO of Appalachian Power says he thinks repair crews will make “significant” progress when it comes to restoring power in the coming days.
“Right now, our primary focus is to get to those substations where we can pick up the largest numbers of customers,“ Charles Patton said on Monday’s MetroNews Talkline.
He says high winds did not take down any of Appalachian’s towers.
However, he says, 70 large transmission lines were damaged in the Friday night storm that ripped through West Virginia and surrounding states.
In addition to line issues, “We have broken poles, which is a very labor intensive operation to get poles to locations and reset and you know that the West Virginia geography, while it’s beautiful, is not necessarily the easiest to work in,“ Patton said.
As of early Monday afternoon, Appalachian Power was reporting 290,000 power outages throughout Southern West Virginia. The goal is to be finished with restoration efforts by the weekend.
Already, power has been restored to thousands of homes and businesses. More outages, though, were reported Sunday after another round of thunderstorms.
In the entire region, if you take into account the area from Indiana to Washington, D.C. and Virginia, Friday’s storm system knocked out power to more than four million people.