Powerful storms wreak havoc, leave 70,000 in West Virginia without power

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (CIRCA via WCHS/WVAH) — Nearly 70,000 West Virginians were left without electricity following storms that sent strong winds through the state.

Wind gusts reaching 54 mph were registered in Charleston, while Snowshoe Mountain got a wind gust of 88 mph.

And the outages may persist as long as winds keep making conditions unsafe for electrical workers to restore power.

American Electric Power said in a statement: “Workers cannot safely make repairs aloft buckets in wind speeds in excess of 30 mph, and cannot safely work in forested areas where high wind gusts are still bringing down trees and limbs.” The company says is has requested additional resources, but does not currently have commitments from contractors or utilities outside the company’s service area.

“Until the storm threat has passed and the extent of damage is more fully known, restoration estimates cannot be accurately determined,” the company said.