The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

October 31, 2012

Historic storm batters southern W.Va.

Residents deal with outages, frigid conditions


CHARLESTON — Snow isn’t out of the ordinary for Raleigh County, but in October it is. However, residents and emergency crews were ready in advance for the nearly spot-on weather predictions.

Tuesday afternoon, Raleigh County emergency operations was working to open shelters at Independence Middle School, Shady Spring Middle School and Trap Hill Middle School. Three other shelters — the Dream Center, Raleigh County Community Action and the Commission on Aging — opened Monday afternoon.

Marty Agee, EOC director, said she was unsure how many people might use the shelters because many people prefer to stay with family instead. Those who use nebulizers, oxygen or other medical equipment may go to the Center on Aging shelter, which has been open since Monday.

Agee says the EOC does not have generators to distribute to private residents, and those who do go to a shelter are asked to bring their medical equipment, personal hygiene items, a change of clothing and a pillow.

Agee was expecting National Guard members to arrive Tuesday in Raleigh County for further assistance.

Through all the snow and power outages, Agee credited Raleigh County residents for their positive attitudes and being prepared for the storm. She added that the late June wind storm was still fresh in the minds of many residents, who heeded warnings of the potential for significant snowfall and power outages.

As residents were bunkered in their homes, power company and DOH crews were working to clear fallen trees from roadways and power lines in some areas of the county, Agee said.

“If you don’t have to travel, don’t,” Agee added.

Anyone in need of immediate medical assistance or transportation to a hospital should call 911 for transport, she said.

Although additional generators are being sent to local Public Service Districts and water tanks were filled Monday, Agee is also asking that residents conserve water during this time.  

Raleigh County’s emergency crews on Tuesday responded to minor traffic accidents, impassable roads and downed trees. An Emergency Operation Center dispatcher confirmed that there were several calls about cars in ditches and other accidents; however, at around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, no one had to be transported for medical attention.

Among the roads that were closed to traffic included a section of Harper Road between Robert C. Byrd Drive and Westwood Drive. Beckley Police Chief Tim Deems said midday Tuesday that vehicles were stuck on Harper Road and DOH crews were called to clear and treat the section.

All the snow and concerns for safety have prompted Beckley and Raleigh County to postpone Trick-or-Treat until Saturday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m, Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh said in a news release.

The Summers County Emergency Operations Center reported that Summers County had few power outages. Only about 300 individuals lost power and most of those were restored by 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The dispatcher also said the county had no displaced persons and no requests for shelters to open.

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