The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 31, 2012

Wyoming officials work to dig out, restore power

By Mary Catherine Brooks
Wyoming County Bureau Chief

Superstorm Sandy slowed traffic to a crawl, closed schools and businesses and resulted in temporary suspension of early voting Tuesday as the snow and wind continued to pound Wyoming County with a 1-2 winter punch.

Officials were looking for the worst of the storm to end Tuesday evening.

“We do expect the blizzard warning to remain in effect until 5 p.m. (Tuesday),” according to Dean Meadows, Wyoming Emergency Services director.

Today officials are looking to dig out and restore electricity to the more than 10,000 residents who were suffering through in the dark Tuesday.

The Wyoming County Courthouse will be closed again today, he noted.

“Wyoming County has a mess,” Meadows emphasized.

Power and county Division of Highways crews had worked through the night to restore outages, Meadows said.

“But this is a a delicate situation,” he explained.

Trees were still falling Tuesday afternoon, undoing what power crews and road crews had worked through the night to restore.

“If you walk outside, you can hear them falling,” Meadows said.

Road crews were doing a good job of keeping roads cleared of the heavy, wet snow, but the trees posed the biggest hazard, according to Meadows.

They get one road open, then another tree can fall a mile down the road and the same road is closed again, he said.

“We’re urging everyone who doesn’t have to be on the road to stay home,” he emphasized.

Temporary shelters were open in Oceana City Hall, Mullens Opportunity Center (formerly Mullens Grade School building) and Cookman Memorial Baptist Church in Pineville. A group called West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is bringing food, cots and blankets to the shelters and the volunteers will cook meals there, Meadows said.

He said no gas stations or grocery stores were open in the county and only two restaurants were open, both in Mullens.

— E-mail: