By Sarah Plummer
The effects of Frankenstorm on southern West Virginia are slowly but surely decreasing.
Power restoration efforts continue, roads are being cleared and slightly warmer temperatures are melting the snow without much risk of flooding, said the National Weather Service.
Tim Akford, an NWS meteorologist in Charleston, explained our area should see gradually warming temperatures maxing out at 49 or 50 degrees on Sunday.
This slow increase will let the snow melt over the weekend instead of all at once, decreasing the chance of flooding.
Akford said there is a good deal of water locked up in the snow, about 1 inch for every 7 inches of snow.
The snow melt, which really kicked up Thursday with temperatures in the upper 30s, will continue today with temperatures in the lower 40s. Saturday is expected to be in the mid-40s, he said.
“Small rivers and streams will probably rise some, but the warmer weather is not so dramatic that it could melt all at once,” he said.
As of early Thursday evening, more than 29,500 people were still without power across The Register-Herald coverage area as Mon Power and Appalachian Power struggled to restore power to customers across the state.
As of 6 p.m., Appalachian Power reported 5,500 customers without power in Raleigh County and 7,300 in the dark in Fayette.
Mon Power reported a little over 8,100 customers still without power in Nicholas County. Fewer than 500 people remained powerless in Greenbrier and Summers counties, but 5,700 were still in the dark in Wyoming County. All but 10 had been restored in Monroe County
Appalachian Power reported that more than 50 distribution substations were taken out by the storm and 14 were still without service on Thursday.
In addition, more than 110 circuit breakers and 55 transmission lines were affected.
Raleigh County and the Hico and surrounding areas of Fayette should be 90 percent restored by tonight.
McDowell and Pineville should be up and running again by midnight today.
Nicholas, Summers and Greenbrier customers serviced by Appalachian Power should also be restored by today at midnight.
A representative from Mon Power said Nicholas County customers may not see power until early next week.
The National Park Service assessed storm damage Thursday and had power restored to the park headquarters in Glen Jean, confirmed information officer and chief interpreter Robin Snyder.
Generators have been sent to Canyon Rim Visitor Center while power has been restored at Sandstone Visitor Center. Those centers will reopen to the public today with limited services, she said.
Fayette Station Road, Cunard Road access, and access to Glade Creek Campground are all closed at this time due to felled trees and snow accumulation.
Snyder also noted that the National Park Service has not been able to assess trails closely, but a preliminary assessment shows widespread trees down across the trail systems.
“We ask that citizens do not utilize the park trails until we have been able to clear trees and complete assessments,” she said.
If hikers do hit the trails, they need to use extreme caution, she added.
Fayette County’s 4-H Camp Road was closed with downed power lines but was open again by 4 p.m. Thursday.
Roads in the area of Stover Fork in Raleigh County were closed Thursday due to trees on power lines.
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