Thousands are without power following a snowstorm that moved across Appalachian Power’s southwest Virginia service area Saturday night, dumping about 9.5” of heavy, wet snow on Blacksburg and Christiansburg and reportedly a similar amount in Radford according to the Radford police department.
Parts of Montgomery County may not be restored with power until tomorrow or Friday.
Power company workers across its three-state service area were ready to travel to areas with damage.
In all more than 1,000 AEP workers are helping restore power. Monday, additional workers from outside Appalachian Power’s service arrived in the most heavily damaged areas, according to a news release from AEP.
Trees and limbs broke and fell as snow weighed heavy on them for several hours, and by 11 a.m. Sunday more than 90,000 Appalachian Power customers were without electric service as a result of storm damage.
In Virginia, storm damage left nearly 78,000 customers without power in areas from Tazewell, Bland and Giles counties south to the North Carolina border and east to Franklin and Henry counties.
Around 13,000 people were without power in West Virginia as the storm tracked south and east across McDowell, Mercer and Wyoming counties.
Of the 69,000 AEP customers in our region, the hardest hit was Pulaski with 12,079. Montgomery County had 10,864.
By Monday morning, with temperatures expected in the 40s, 50,000 were still without power throughout Virginia.
In Radford, most of the 7400 customers (6500 residential) served by Radford Electric Department lost power at some point over the weekend according to Tim Logwood, director of electric utilities at the Radford Electric Department whose own house is still without power as of Monday morning.
“The city wasn’t all out at once,” Logwood said. “We had problems on the East End, then another tree would fall. At one point, we lost one of our feeds from Appalachian Power, but were able to switch around that until they restored it to us.”
Radford still has about a dozen outages. The city buys power from Appalachian Power to serve the city, the university, Fairlawn and some sites in Montgomery County.
The difficulty of this storm was its duration and heft he said. Radford crews worked for 24 hours.
“We came in Saturday evening and worked until it got dark Sunday night,” Logwood said. “I’ve been here 27 years. This storm was similar to the ice storm of ’97.“
Safety advice from the power company and experts is to stay away from all downed lines or sparking equipment, and keep children and pets away from fallen lines and anything the lines may touch.
“Do not touch or go near any downed line. Even a communications line. It’s possible that it could be energized by a power line lying across it somewhere. You just don’t know,” Logwood said.
Never remove debris that’s within 10 feet of a power line. Residents should let the power company know if they are using a generator in order to protect line workers as they work to restore power.
Additional safety tips are posted at: www.appalachianpower.com/outages/faq/OutageSafetyTips.aspx.