UPDATE: BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - Thousands across the WVVA viewing remain without power Thursday morning in the wake of superstorm Sandy, but crews are making substantial progress.
According to AEP.com's outage map, just under 36,000 West Virginia customers remained without power at Friday morning -- down substantially from the peak of the outage where more than 90,000 West Virginia customers were without service. An additional 1,800-plus remain without service in Virginia.
Appalachian Power spokesman Phil Moye said service would be restored by Friday night in Beckley, Bluefield, Hamlin, Hico, Huntington, Logan, Pineville, Point Pleasant, Ripley, Wayne, Welch, and Williamson. Service was expected to be restored by late Sunday night in some other areas, including Charleston and Madison.
Among the hardest-hit counties in the WVVA viewing area were Fayette and Wyoming counties. More than half of Fayette's population was without power Tuesday evening, while nearly 84 percent of Wyoming County customers were without service.
Crews began mobilizing as early as last Friday in anticipation of the damage Sandy could do to power lines. Crews from as far away as Texas were called to the area to help restore service.
Multiple out-of-state crews were mobilized at the Kmart parking lot in Bluefield Wednesday morning.
Following is the latest update from AEP.com:
In less than 48 hours, Appalachian Power crews and outside workers have restored power to more than 83,000 customers as a result of Monday's storm. Outages peaked around noon on Tuesday at more than 182,000 customers.
With President Obama's disaster declaration for West Virginia, the state will be able to receive federal aid to supplement emergency response efforts.
The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all counties in the State of West Virginia.
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.
Road conditions were treacherous across the region early Tuesday. With many minor accidents reported.
A tanker truck carrying plastic materials overturned on Interstate 77 northbound. The driver was transported with minor injuries.
Airport Road was impassable in Beckley, according to Raleigh County 911, with several vehicles stranded.
A tree reportedly downed power lines across the roadway on Coaldale Mountain in Mercer County, according to a resident.
Motorists were advised to avoid travel unless necessary and exercise caution when on the roadway.
Stay with WVVA News and our Precision Weather Team on-air and online for the latest on this potentially big storm.
Ways to follow WVVA's Weather team:
UPDATE: BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - As Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the New Jersey shore Monday night, the Two Virginias began to feel the brunt of her power in the form of heavy snow and strong winds.
Road conditions deteriorated as snow fell across the region. Motorists were advised to avoid travel unless necessary and use extreme caution when on the roadways.
Sandy's high winds and heavy, wet snow were responsible for power outages for thousands of Appalachian Power customers in the Two Virginias.
UPDATE: BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a State of Emergency in West Virginia ahead of the imminent snowy impact from Hurricane Sandy.
Tomblin said the state is threatened with by a 'three-punch storm' that could bring heavy snow, flooding and high winds.
The rare, pre-Halloween snow began falling across the Two Virginias late Sunday night and is expected to bring as much as 30 inches of snow could in the higher elevations of West Virginia by the time it has run its course on Wednesday.
A Blizzard Warning was extended Monday morning to 14 West Virginia counties, including Greenbrier, Fayette, McDowell, Raleigh and Wyoming counties in the WVVA viewing area.
Also included are Pendleton, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, Webster and portions of Grant and Mineral counties.
Mercer, Summers and Monroe counties are under a Winter Storm Warning.
In Virginia, Tazewell County is also under a Winter Storm Warning, while Tazewell Giles and Bland are under a High Wind Warning.
The worst of the storm is expected late Monday into Tuesday -- when the majority of the expected snow will fall.
All residents of the WVVA viewing area are advised to prepare for possible high winds and power outages by securing any outdoor items that may be prone to wind damage and stocking up on non-perishable food items, water, batteries and any other necessities you may need.
SUNDAY UPDATE: BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - From the WVVA Precision Weather Team, the following is our first rough estimates of snowfall amounts through Wednesday as a result of Hurricane Sandy:
Totals, of course, are subject to change depending on the storm's course.
Bluefield (WVVA): A potentially historic storm for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic is gearing up for Monday and Tuesday. Hurricane Sandy will continue its track northward along the Gulf Stream. Forecasts show Sandy making landfall sometime early Tuesday morning along the coast of southern New Jersey or Delaware.
At the same time, a trough will dig into the eastern half of the country with cold, arctic air. Normally, a hurricane this time of year will move out to sea, but a blocking high in the north Atlantic will keep that from occurring and Sandy will hit the US. As Sandy nears the east coast, it will suck in cold air from the trough and become more of a hurricane/Nor ‘easter hybrid. For the most part, not much will change. This storm will still be powerful with damaging winds and heavy rain, but on the west side of the storm (Appalachians) snow will become a big player.
Here in the two Virginias, we will get a mix of everything, from rain to wind to snow and cold. Here is a look at the timeline:
Sunday: Rain showers will be on and off most of the day. Temperatures fall into the 40s in the morning and stay there. Colder air arrives Sunday night as the trough and Sandy really start to interact. Temps will fall into the 30s at night, allowing wet snow to mix in across the higher elevations. Roads will be slick from downed leaves, rain and snow. Winds begin increasing at 10-20mph with gusts to 30.
Monday: Expect rain to mix with snow or for the two to go back and forth most of the day. Highs will be in the 30s to near 40 with winds at 15-25mph and gusts to 35. Any mix will change to snow for many Monday night and snow may be heavy at times for all elevations. Significant snow accumulation likely and there will be possible white out conditions.
Tuesday: Snow may be heavy at times in the morning. Winds at 15-25 with gusts to 40 possible. Wind chills will likely be in the teens. Rain may mix in during the afternoon for elevations below 3000 ft, but most of us continue with snow. Rain/snow showers become less numerous by night time. Highs in the 30s. Lows fall into the 20s through Wednesday morning.
Wednesday: Staying cloudy with scattered rain and snow showers possible through out the day. Breezy and cold with highs around 40.
Here in the 2 Virginias, snow doesn't tend to stick this early in the season. However, with this storm, snow has the potential to come down very heavy at times, causing it to accumulate. Heavy, wet snow along with gusty winds may cause downed tree limbs and power lines. Be sure to prepare for this storm now. Travel will likely be hazardous from Sunday night to Wednesday morning.
Stay with WVVA's Precision Weather Team throughout the weekend for the latest on Sandy's track and the potential amount of snowfall for our region.