WHEELING - American Electric Power officials estimate most Wheeling area residents' power will be restored by midnight Saturday - more than a week after a storm clobbered the Ohio Valley.
Meanwhile, Belmont County residents' power was expected to be restored on July 4, but a quick storm on Wednesday apparently caused more outages, forcing officials to change that date to Saturday by 6 p.m. And those who had gone without power since Friday in the Steubenville area now have it again, according to AEP.
At press time, the utility company estimated there were 1,761 people without power in Ohio County; 1,194 in Marshall County; and 661 in Belmont County.
In this photo provided by Tom Hart, Marshall County Emergency Management Agency director, an electric power tower in West Virginia was crumpled by Friday’s severe storm.
"In the Wheeling area, access is difficult in some areas to make the repairs needed. That's why it is taking longer," said AEP spokeswoman Shelly Clark.
Because Marshall County Public Service District No. 4 still is under a conservation order, Tom Hart, county Emergency Management Agency director, said the Dallas, Cameron, Roberts Ridge, St. Joe and Fork Ridge volunteer fire departments are still offering free water between 4-8 p.m. daily at their stations. The county EMA purchased water and FEMA distributed water from points across the state.
"We received a tractor-trailer load of bottles," Hart said, noting the water would be available until power is fully restored. "AEP is working hard to get the power restored. They've been keeping the EMA updated with new restoration numbers."
The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a severe thunderstorm warning and then a watch until 10 p.m. One storm that passed through the northwestern part of Belmont County resulted in reports of golfball-sized hail falling in the Flushing area, and some additional power outages in the St. Clairsville area.
In addition to not having electricity, residents also continue to deal with unrelenting heat.
Temperatures are expected to rise into the mid-90s today and Friday in some parts of the valley.
The NWS issued a heat advisory, which means the combination of high humidity and heat can cause people to become ill. It warned that outdoor work should be done early in the morning or evening to avoid possible heat-related illness.