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High winds, rain tear through Tyler County

By Staff | Jul 13, 2011

An uprooted tree graces the back yard of one of SIstersville’s largest homes, formerly known as the Founds mansion. The sale property is currently pending.

A strong thunderstorm Monday knocked out electricity and caused related damage throughout the county.

Powerful storms hit late Monday afternoon, causing a power outage that affected several areas in Tyler County, including parts of Sistersville and Middlebourne.

A line of storms originated in Iowa, moved through Chicago and into Ohio before moving in a southeastern direction into the Mid-Ohio Valley, said Tim Axford, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

”There was a lot of rain and wind,” he said. ”Winds were not as high here as what they were seeing in Chicago (70 mph), but we did see gusts of 40-50 mph in West Virginia.

”Some areas got 1.5 inches of rain within an hour.”

Locally, damages to homes and other property were reported, as high winds wreaked havoc on virtually everything in its path. Downed power lines left many in the county without electricity. According to information found on Allegheny Power’s Web site, power issues were caused by blown fuses and issues with overhead wires and equipment. Reports were received from customers in Alma, Friendly, Joseph Mills, Middleourne, Paden City, Shirley and Sistersville, affecting 1,610 households.

Residents and emergency personnel rallied to ensure roads were clear and debris was removed.

“I was really impressed by the quick response of the Fire Department when a building flew onto Main Street,” commented Heather Weekley. “And, without the help of Roger Weekley, his wife Angie and their sons Roger and Matthew, the path to the Nursing Home would not have been cleared. I drove along and I believe there were more than six trees across the road. Roger ripped through those trees with his chain-saw in the pouring rain and his family he helped clear them from the road. They should really be commended for their selflessness.”

According to Tyler County Sheriff Earl P. “Bob” Kendle, Jr., well over 100 911 calls were logged Monday evening, and continued throughout Tuesday. “At one point we had two dispatchers and a deputy answering phones,” Kendle said.

Sheriff Kendle said clean-up was progressing, although several power lines were still down at press time. “There are crews from Ohio Edison and Friendly working on the lines, fifteen crews in all,” he said.

“The first priority was to kill the power to the lines, and now they are in the process of repairs,” he added.

“The local fire department and the Office of Emergency Management both were working hard,” Kendle remarked. “It was a team effort.”

Sheriff Kendle said the Department of Highways crews were working to clear roads, and that many local citizens had assisted in clean-up as well.

“That’s the good thing about Tyler County,” said Kendle. “People here will jump right in and help.”