Heavy ice, snowfall can cause power outages

WEST VIRGNIA (WOAY) Wednesday evening into Thursday morning, some areas could see some harsh winter weather.

The StormWatch team forecasts some overnight sleet for areas like Oak Hill and Beckley while Lewisburg could see snow. That can mean trouble when it comes to power outages.

“Trees are a major problem for us, so when ice or sleet builts up on tree limbs, or heavy, wet snow, it causes limbs to break and trees to fall,” says Phil Moye with Appalachian Power. “It takes quite a bit for that to happen, but once it gets to a certain point and the limbs start breaking and trees start falling, that’s when we start having problems.” 
If you experience an outage, report it right away so your power company knows just how many are experiencing outages in your area.
“Our restoration priority in a major storm is to try to take the outages that affect the largest number of customers first,” said Moye. “In other words, if we have one problem that we can fix and get 500 customers back on, then we’re going to that amount of time on that outage instead of the same amount of time fixing a problem that would only get five customers back on.”

Depending on what caused the outage, your restoration time will vary. One lineman says a simple line down takes 30 minutes, but more severe cases can take all day.

“A lot of times vehicle accidents [take longer] or when the outage is way up in the mountains and you have to pack everything, the material, and climb up to fix it,” said the lineman. “Sometimes it’s more than a three-man job, it’s an eight-man job.”

If you see a line down, its important not to go near or touch the wire because it could still be live. Luckily, conditions are expected to improve by Thursday morning.

You can stay up to date on weather conditions in your area by liking WOAY StormWatch on Facebook.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.