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Storm knocks out power to 1,000 in W.Va.

June 13, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Trees fell on cars and power lines, cutting power throughout Charles Town Thursday afternoon when a brief, but strong, storm swept through the area at about 3:30 p.m., emergency officials said.

About 1,000 Allegheny Power Co. customers lost service during the storm and about 250 still were without power as of 8:30 p.m., said Allegheny Power spokeswoman Janice Lantz.

About 189 of those customers were in the area of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., Lantz said. Lantz said it was possible those customers could have their power back by late Thursday, although others might be without power until today.

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The storm was one of a group of storms that swept through different parts of West Virginia and Virginia, said Jim DeCarufel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Sterling, Va.

The storms were triggered by an unstable air mass that has been in the area, DeCarufel said. A severe thunderstorm watch had been posted from eastern West Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay since Thursday morning, he said.

Locally, most of the damage and outages were in the Charles Town area, officials said.

A tree fell in the 500 block of South Samuel Street, crossing over a power line to a house and landing on two cars, said Charles Town Police Sgt. Glenn Stevens. The cars did not appear to be badly damaged and no injuries were reported, he said.

In the Belvedere Heights area near Charles Town Middle School, a tree fell over a power line in a yard, causing the line to hang low over the main road through the area, Stevens said.

A tree fell across W.Va. 9 near the Charles Town sewer plant, blocking both lanes of the highway for about 35 minutes, Stevens said.

A tree fell on East First Avenue off North George Street, causing a power line to fall into the road and a tree fell into some lines and onto a house along Jefferson Avenue, emergency officials said. The house had minimal damage.

"There were trees and limbs down in yards all over town," Stevens said. He said the power outage also affected traffic lights on U.S. 340.

The stormy weather passed through Berkeley and Morgan counties but there appeared to be little damage in those areas, dispatchers said.

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