FRED PACE, EDITOR
November 2, 2012
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. -- Last week, all across Boone County the sounds of chainsaws and generators could be heard, as power companies and local residents attempted to recover from one of the worst storms in recent memory.
Although power has been restored to most in Boone County, a large amount of Boone County residents went without power for most of last week in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
At one point the number of Boone County customers without power was 10,489 of 12,938, or 81.1 percent of all customers in the county. Some parts of the county still had downed power lines and power was being kept on by power company generators.
Shelters opened in Boone County, including the Fountain of Life Church in Rock Creek; Racine Fire Department; Morrisvale Community Center; Orgas Community Center; and the Madison Memorial Building for those without heat and Boone Memorial Hospital had a disaster plan in place to also assist county residents.
Meanwhile, Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, along with Congressman Nick Rahall, urged the President to approve Governor Earl Ray Tomblins request that federal disaster assistance be made available to help West Virginia recover from this weeks storm.
Last week, the governor declared a state of emergency for the entire state and President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency in West Virginia, which authorized FEMA to provide emergency protective measures for all counties in West Virginia.
Rockefeller, Manchin and Rahall agreed with the Governors request for additional measures, which include an expedited Major Disaster Declaration. The request is for Individual Assistance for six counties (Fayette, Nicholas, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, and Webster); and Public Assistance for 21 counties (Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Clay, Fayette, Grant, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Lewis, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur, Webster, and Wyoming.)
The devastation in some areas of our state is extraordinary, Rockefeller said. And while Im very pleased the President acted quickly in including West Virginia in the emergency disaster declaration, we need more help beyond clearing roads. Thats why this Major Disaster Declaration is so important. Thousands of West Virginians were impacted by this storm, and Im fighting to make sure every possible federal resource is available in the days and weeks ahead.
Incredibly, this is our states fourth disaster request this year. This brutal year has taken a significant economic toll on our families and businesses, not to mention the emotional distress and heartbreak so many have endured, said Rahall, top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which holds jurisdiction over FEMA. Having toured several counties and spoken with multiple state and local officials about the critical and urgent need for assistance in clearing our roads and restoring electrical power and communications, I will continue to work with the rest of the Congressional Delegation and push hard to expedite our States disaster assistance request.
The governor, senator Manchin and Congressman Rahall will be in Boone County this evening at the Boone County Emergency Operations Center at 5:45 p.m. to continue to access damages and speak with county emergency management officials.
Were making progress, but I understand when its your power thats off or your road thats closed, it can be very frustrating. I ask for your continued patience as local, state, and federal agenciesas well as utility crewscontinue to work around the clock to get utilities restored and roads open, Tomblin said.
"As I've toured some of the hardest-hit areas of our state with Governor Tomblin, Congressman Rahall and the National Guard, it's clear that we need additional federal aid to fully recover from this major disaster," Senator Manchin said. "We're still trying to reach some mountain areas that have been inaccessible because of the heavy snowfall, and tens of thousands of West Virginians are still without power. Our message is: Help is on the way. I fully support this request for a Major Disaster Declaration, and I will work with the rest of our Congressional delegation and the Administration to make sure that this request is expedited."
Two days ago, I toured Fayette, Nicholas and Raleigh Counties and witnessed firsthand the response and recovery operations deployed to help our citizens. We continue to have extreme and urgent situations with pressing need for speedy action, said Rahall. This brutal year has taken a significant economic toll on our families and businesses, not to mention the emotional distress and heartbreak so many have endured. I have spoken with multiple state, county and local officials and I will continue to push hard at the Federal level to expedite our States disaster assistance request to help everyone who is struggling in this aftermath get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible.
Boone County residents also reported loss of cell phone service, landline telephone service, cable television services and home Internet services.
It could be weeks before the state fully recovers from the storm.
AccuWeather.com reports Hurricane Sandy may turn out to be the most expensive storm to hit the U.S. -- causing damage to 15 states and power outages to over 8 million people -- yet the National Hurricane Center did not issue hurricane warnings north of North Carolina.