CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Bands of strong thunderstorms with fierce winds blew through West Virginia on Thursday, knocking out power for tens of thousands of homes and businesses and causing some flooding.
Storms began early Thursday, and about 40,000 customers consistently were without power throughout the morning and afternoon, according to FirstEnergy and Appalachian Power outage reports. Kanawha County was the hardest hit, with about 4,600 customers left powerless. About 2,900 in Braxton County lost power, about 34 percent of its customers.
The downpours forced one Ritchie County nursing home to clear out. Faced with rising waters, the Pine View Nursing And Rehabilitation Center in Harrisville was evacuated Thursday, said state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management spokesman Timothy Rock.
Meanwhile, West Virginia roads officials dealt with downed trees and power poles, high water, accidents and other problems due to ongoing storms.
Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Walker says the Transportation Management Center reported minor high-water issues statewide, and hundreds of downed trees and some power poles across the state.
The Interstate 79 Burnsville Rest Area is closed because of no power and so is the Nicholas County Division of Highways garage, Walker said. Dozens of trees toppled over onto state Route 82 in Webster County, said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Jones. She said crews were able to clear up enough of them to reopen to traffic.
Several accidents have been reported due to hydroplaning, and there are intermittent traffic signal outages.
For some parts of West Virginia, Thursday just continued this week’s bad weather.
The National Weather Service also confirmed an EF-1 tornado, which has wind speeds of up to 110 mph, hit Nicholas County on Tuesday.
The service says the tornado touched down 3 miles northeast of Richwood and ended in Greenbrier County, damaging mostly trees and power poles.
A weaker tornado on Tuesday had already been confirmed in Monongalia County. The National Weather Service said it delivered 80 mile-per-hour winds.