Thousands of Logan County residents are still without power following Friday afternoon’s storm. As of presstime, Appalachian Power was reporting 11,834 customers in the county without electricity.
Although help is being received in the form of water, generators and cooling shelters, especially to the heavily populated areas, many residents living in rural West Virginia are suffering through heat, no water and food shortages due to no refrigeration.
President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration for West Virginia on Saturday, and a state of emergency declared Saturday by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin also remains in effect. Non-essential state employees were told to stay home Monday, but due to progress that had been made Monday, Tomblin requested all employees to return to their jobs today.
Locally, the only boil water advisory issued has been for the Chapmanville Water Department customers. That advisory was issued due to the power outage that affected the system that allowed the department to fill water tanks.
On Monday, a boil-water advisory for all of West Virginia was issued by State public health officials.
Environmental Health Services Director Barbara Taylor says statewide power outages related to the Friday night storm have put many water supplies at risk, and the advisory will remain in effect until further notice.
She says the warning applies to any area that had low water pressure, cloudy water or a loss of water service.
The advisories means that consumers should bring their drinking water to a full rolling boil for at least one minute before drinking it, cooking with it, or bathing and brushing teeth.
A heat advisory is in effect from noon to 7 p.m. today for most of central and western West Virginia and the southern coalfields. Cooling stations are being opened to residents seeking relief from the heat throughout the area. Cooling stations listed on the Governor’s website in Boone County is the Racine Fire Department (FD), Danville FD, Van FD and Wharton FD. In Lincoln County, a station is at Duvall Middle School, Lincoln Primary Care, Harts VFD and McCorkle Community Center. In Logan County, a station is at the Pride Headquarters, and in Mingo County at the Beech Creek FD, Matewan FD and Gilbert FD. Other sites may be available that have not been listed on the website.
The Town of Man has also opened their community pool for residents this week from noon to 6 p.m. On Monday, the public pool at Chief Logan State Park remained closed due to the power outage.
On Saturday, many gas stations that did not lose power Friday found long lines of customers waiting at the pump and selling out of gas quickly. Gas shipments, along with more gas stations getting their electricity back, had eased the gas crisis by Monday afternoon in the county.
Despite the wide scale damage, only one death has been reported in West Virginia. A person riding an all-terrain vehicle in the dark in Pleasants County struck a fallen tree about 1 a.m. Sunday. State Police identified the victim as Edward F. Riffle Jr.
Terrance Lively, a spokesman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said FEMA and National Guard crews were fanning out across the state to deliver water to communities and generators to critical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and water and sewage-treatment plants. FEMA was dispatched to the area following Obama’s disaster declaration Saturday.
A report by The Associated Press contributed to this report.