OHIO VALLEY — Powerful storms that swept through West Virginia have left an estimated half-million residents without power including many in Mason County and surrounding areas. Worse yet, officials say there could be more on the horizon early this evening.
City officials say another storm is possible this evening that could be severe. Residents are advised to seek shelter in the event of thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are most likely to occur this evening between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
In Point Pleasant, there were major outages from 28th Street south to the Bartow Jones Bridge — all in the midst of the 2012 Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta.
All Regatta events slated for Friday night after approximately 6 p.m. were canceled because of threatening weather, and according to festival organizers, Regatta events will again be canceled today due to widespread power outages. That goes for tonight's fireworks, as well, although officials say the display will be rescheduled, not canceled.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency late Friday for all of West Virginia.
Tomblin’s office said the storm left people without power in at least 27 of the state’s 55 counties. City of Point Pleasant officials have been told it could be three-five days before power is restored. In response, a public shelter has been established at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School.
With temperatures expected to approach 100 degrees on Saturday, Tomblin urged residents to check on friends and neighbors who may need help.
Seniors at risk from extreme heat should seek help if they’re without power.
The governor said officials are reporting widespread damage from violent winds and toppled trees. He said the damage is severe in several areas.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)