Starting late Thursday and moving into Friday, strong winds reaching up to 60 mph have caused tens of thousands of outages in Virginia.
11:15 a.m. Saturday Update:
Progress is being made to restore electric service following strong wind storms Thursday and Friday in much of Appalachian Power’s service territory.
Virginia, which received the brunt of the high winds, has more than 51,000 customers currently without power. Much of the damage was caused by fallen trees that led to broken poles and downed wire. Early assessments have confirmed almost 100 broken poles and 600 spans of wire down. As assessments continues, we expect to find more broken poles and spans of wire down.
In Botetourt County, crews successfully installed a mobile transformer to energize the Trinity substation, which was knocked offline Thursday evening. Only one other substation in the Lovingston area of Virginia is offline due to transmission line issues, but is scheduled to be repaired today.
Restoration work is winding down in West Virginia where all customers should be restored by 6 p.m. today.
In the Roanoke, Rocky Mount, Moneta, Fieldale, Stuart, Lynchburg and Lovingston areas, restoration should be complete Monday by midnight. However, the vast majority of customers will see their power restored well before as crews continue to work and the high winds diminish. In areas of Virginia served by the Glen Lyn, Pulaski and Wytheville service centers, service is expected to be restored by late tonight. Restoration is expected to be complete by late Sunday night for customers in areas served by the company’s Christiansburg, Floyd and Woodlawn service centers.
Update: As of Saturday at 9:16 a.m., there are 55,443 outages across Appalachian Power's footprint.
Strong gusts have damaged several electrical facilities, including the Trinity substation in Botetourt County, which was knocked offline by tree debris. Crews are working to install a mobile transformer to restore power to those affected.
Due to continuing high winds, crews cannot safely make repairs, work from buckets or work on poles. Appalachian Power is unable to give restoration estimates until the storm passes. They will receive additional help from Kentucky Power and AEP Ohio to restore power.
There were more than 70,000 outages across Appalachian Power's Virginia footprint as of 11:20 a.m. Friday, totaling 13 percent of the energy company's Virginia customers. Franklin County has the most outages at 14,184 reported cases.
The company urges customers not to remove debris that is within 10 feet of a power line. Customers should also avoid operating lanterns, heaters or fuel-fired stoves without proper ventilation.
More outages are expected as the area continues to experience high winds. Customers can get specific information about their outage by subscribing to Appalachian Power outage alerts.