Storms Sweep Through Valley

WHEELING – A sunny evening Wednesday quickly gave way to wind, rain and quarter-sized hail as a series of storms rolled through the Ohio Valley.

Belmont County appeared to be the hardest hit, with more 8,000 homes and businesses losing power Wednesday night.

According to data from American Electric Power, 4,500 outages were reported just before 8 p.m. Wednesday. That ballooned in less than an hour to more than 8,000. At the same time, more than 2,000 outages were reported in Jefferson County.

According to AEP spokeswoman Fay White, the majority of the Belmont County outages were reported in Shadyside, with roughly 3,500 in that area. White said a transmission issue was causing the problem, and that estimates indicated power could have been restored by 11 p.m. Wednesday.

However, she said that was dependent upon a complete assessment of the damage and cause of the outage.

Residents were seen standing outside of homes and businesses in Bellaire and Shadyside, many doing so as a way to escape the heat in their homes caused by this week’s high temperatures.

FirstEnergy reported several hundred outages in Hancock and Brooke counties, as well as in New Martinsville and the surrounding areas in Wetzel County. Those outages were expected to be fixed by 1 a.m. today.