By Sarah Plummer
Damage Superstorm Sandy wreaked on West Virginia garnished national attention during a storm briefing Saturday in Charleston.
At its peak Oct. 30, more than 270,000 West Virginia households were without power. Many trees already weakened by high winds during June’s derecho have slowed restoration as the West Virginia National Guard and the Department of Transportation continue to dig out residents in rural areas.
During the briefing, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano heard reports from state emergency control officials and, according to The Associated Press, pledged “every available resource” to help the state recover from the storm.
Also attending the briefing Saturday were Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manchin and Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and Nick Rahall.
During the briefing, around 65,000 customers in West Virginia were still without power, more than 10,500 across Fay-ette, Raleigh, Wyoming and Nicholas counties.
Power has been restored to thousands, but some rural areas of Nicholas County do not expect restoration until midweek.
According to Mon Power, restoration is expected today for the areas of Richwood and Birch River, but not until Thursday for the remainder of the county.
About 4,000 Mon Power customers and 500 Appalachian Power customers remain in the dark in Nicholas County.
The Register-Herald previously reported that the damage in Nicholas County has been extensive with more than 40 collapsed structures under as much as 5 and 6 feet of snow in places.
The county is seeking volunteers to help the National Guard remove trees and reach shut-ins.
Officials ask anyone interested in volunteering to call the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster contact Jenny Gannaway at 606-625-5921 or 304-426-4394.
Donations to the WV VOAD Disaster Relief Fund can be made to the West Virginia Council of Churches at 2207 Washington St. E., Charleston, WV 25311, or by calling 304-344-3141.
Appalachian Power reports 1,800 customers still without power in Raleigh, 2,400 in Wyoming, and 1,500 in Fayette.
— E-mail: splummer@ register-herald.com