W.Va. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin visited emergency service locations in the southern part of the state on Wednesday to discuss ongoing recovery efforts following the widespread power outage in the aftermath of a severe summer storm Friday evening. In Boone, Tomblin visited the Racine Volunteer Fire Department that is also serving as a cooling station for residents of the area with electricity and in Mingo he stopped by a cooling station at the Williamson Community Center.
In Logan, Tomblin met at noon with 911 Director Roger Bryant for an update on power outages and other emergency services.
Bryant told Tomblin that electrical workers were going to restore power going in to Chief Logan State Park. The park suffered downed trees and power lines Friday afternoon and as a result, the community pool has been shut down.
“They are going to try to get the park and the Logan Fork of Mill Creek,” said Bryant. “They are going to finish up Buffalo Creek and start on Huff Creek and finish up on the upper end of Harts Creek. They have already got the lower end.”
Bryant said that on Tuesday, workers got most of the core of the county back on electrical power.
“Peach Creek and Crooked Creek came up and from Chauncey to Island Creek is back online,” said Bryant. “They hit a pretty good lick yesterday. As of 9 a.m. today there were still about 9,000 without power. I think we can whittle that down to about 6,000 today.”
Bryant said emergency services have concentrated on keeping the water systems up and running.
“That is something we need to talk about when all of this is over,” Bryant said. “We need to make sure all these places are on backup power. We were able to get some generators and we have been able to keep the main water systems going. If they go down, we really got a problem.”
Bryant said that most of the water that is being given out is for people who are still on well water. Bryant said ice has been a real problem for the county. There was a truck load of ice due in the county on Wednesday.
“The ice we have we have coming in is coming from Louisana because the states around are in the same shape we are in,” said Bryant.
Tomblin relayed to Bryant that Home City Ice was back online and would be producing ice.
“Whether we will be able to get it through a distribution center or through stores, we don’t know yet. But people will be able to start getting ice,” said Tomblin.
Bryant said that emergency services have been concentrating on the emergency needs of the people.
“As long as things were available in the stores or commercially — we don’t waste resources on this, that and the other. We been focusing on things that were not available commercially and trying to deal with individual needs,” said Bryant.
Tomblin said that Logan County is so used to floods and disasters that the state received very little requests following Friday’s storm.
“We’ve had very little requests, with the exception of water and the ice,” said Tomblin. “You guys have done this so much that you know what to do.”
Tomblin said Friday’s storm was history making.
“This is the first time that 55 counties in the state have been without power,” said Tomblin. “It’s been tough. A lot of them were not used to being without power, like the Eastern Panhandle and some of the north central counties.”
Tomblin said he contacted Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) on Saturday morning.
“We put in a request for water, generators and ice,” said Tomblin. “Our primary concern was hospitals and water supplies throughout the state. As far as I know all the water producers in the state are up and going.”
Tomblin said the state has learned a lot in the aftermath of Friday’s storm.
“We better know what we need to do… communications around the state, especially radio, so that they can get the information out to the people,” said Tomblin.
Tomblin said food spoilage has been a big problem, and many food banks have low supplies.
“We have landfills open today so that people can dispose of their spoiled food and Waste Management is picking up today so that they don’t get behind,” said Tomblin. “We have been having food drives and food is coming into the state. We have raised about $60,000 in food supplies.”
Along with Adjutant General Jimmy Hoyer with the National Guard, attending the meeting was Danny Godby, president of the Logan County Commission, and Rocky Adkins, Logan County Administrator.
Tomblin also visited the counties of Wyoming, Mercer and Greenbrier Wedneday.
As of presstime Thursday, Appalachian Power was listing 6,411 people were still without power.