By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
Marion County experienced some brief strong weather Wednesday around 5:30 p.m., when strong wind and heavy rain swept through the area. The bad weather lasted for under an hour.
Around 130 customers were without power in Marion County as of 7:40 p.m., with most outages located in Fairmont, and several additional outages in Rivesville and Worthington.
Brian Edwards, meteorologist with AccuWeather, said that while the storm was short-lived, the rain came down very fast.
“We picked up about 3/4 of an inch of rain in about 45 minutes,” Edwards said. “That’s a pretty good clip — about an inch per hour of rain.”
He said there were many reports of wind damage in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Edwards said that while the official reports of wind in North Central West Virginia only reached about 35 miles per hour, due to the reports of power outages, there were likely also much faster localized gusts.
“I’d imagine there were 50-to-55 mile-per-hour localized gusts,” Edwards said.
Power lines were reported down in Fairmont and throughout the state.
Todd Meyers, a Mon Power spokesman, said that the storm caused damage to power lines across West Virginia. As of 7:40 p.m., more than 8,000 customers were affected. Mon Power has 522,111 customers in West Virginia.
“We have so much damage right now in West Virginia,” Meyers said.
He said that crews were sent out once the storm passed.
“We have crews out there, and they’ll be out there all night,” he said Wednesday. “It will last until sometime tomorrow. Those storms were powerful.”
Meyers said that in addition to the linemen who were out trying to restore power, forestry crews were also dispatched.
“We have forestry crews out to cut down the downed trees and make sure the area is safe,” Meyers said.
Meyers warned that residents should steer clear of any downed lines they come across.
“Don’t touch a downed wire,” Meyers said. “Call 9-1-1 and call our 1-888 number. It could be a phone line, a cable line or an energized line. We need to know so that we can get out there to address it.”
To report an outage or a downed power line, call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877).
Meyers said it is also important that customers call to report when they are experiencing a power outage.
“Don’t assume that your neighbors have called,” Meyers said. “If you’ve called us, we’re able to pinpoint where the trouble is.”
Edwards said that residents should play it safe when experiencing extreme weather.
“Normally the best thing to do is to get to a sturdy building or take shelter somewhere in the interior of a building, at the lowest level and away from windows,” Edwards said. “Even if there isn’t a tornado, the wind can cause flying debris if there are any winds over 50 miles per hour. Cars are not the safest place to be in that kind of weather.”
Edwards said there was at least one tornado report nearby, coming out of southern Pennsylvania in Bedford County.
Email Colleen S. Good at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.