The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

December 9, 2011

Fayette power outage closes high school

Power outages in Fayette County closed one school and left more than 1,000 residents without electricity after a winter storm rolled into the area Wednesday evening.

Most Fayette County customers lost power between 9 p.m. and midnight Wednesday, said Appalachian Power Co. spokesperson Phil Moye. By midmorning Thursday, 941 remained without power.

Moye estimated that all service in the county would be restored by late Thursday night.

Fayette County Schools officials closed the doors of Fayetteville High School Thursday, though electrical service was restored by 8:51 a.m. A decision on the closing had to be made before that time, said Assistant Superintendent Serena Starcher.

“Because we could not, as a school system, have 100 percent assurance from the power company that the power would be back on before students arrived at school, we decided not to send students to Fayetteville High School,” she said.

Teachers in Fayetteville reported to school for a work day. All other schools in the county operated on a two-hour delay due to snow.

Moye said no single problem caused the county’s multiple outages. Their locations ranged from Meadow Bridge to Oak Hill to Scarbro.

“I can tell you that one of the common themes was tree contact,” he said.

Moye explained that when heavy rains precede snow, they saturate the ground and weaken the trees’ root systems. A fallen tree caused the largest outage in Fayette County, located in the Jones Avenue area of Oak Hill.

Moye says approximately 7,000 of APCO’s customers in West Virginia lost power due to storm-related problems.

As of Thursday afternoon, approximately 25 outages remained in Fayette and Raleigh counties.

“If there is an outage that goes later than (Thursday night), it will be one that there’s just a lot of physical work to do to get the power back on, and it shouldn’t be one that will affect a large number of customers,” said Moye.

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