CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending truckloads of water and generators to help West Virginians reeling in the aftermath of Friday night's storm, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Saturday.
As Tomblin addressed the crisis during an afternoon news conference at Yeager Airport, people in Kanawha and Putnam counties searched for gas, ice and relief from heat and worked to clean up their homes.
Tomblin said the state is "on top of it."
Fifty-three of West Virginia's 55 counties experienced power loss, Tomblin said, and the outage is one of the biggest in recent history.
On Saturday, Appalachian Power estimated that it could take crews until late Friday to fully restore power to Kanawha, Putnam, Cabell, McDowell, Mercer, Summers and Wayne counties, with the earliest restoration being Lincoln County, on Tuesday.
Wayne County can anticipate power by Wednesday night. Fayette, Jackson, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Raleigh and Wyoming counties should have power by Thursday night.
Finally, on Saturday Boone and Clay counties, as well as some remote portions of Kanawha County should have power.
Tomblin said the main priority is making sure those in hospitals and nursing homes are taken care of while power is out to a large portion of the state.
He also acknowledged that the lack of power has made resources such as gasoline sparse.
Along MacCorkle Avenue in Kanawha City, pumps at 7-Eleven were bagged, driving people in need of fuel to nearby ExxonMobil and Go-Mart stations.
At the Exxon gas station, cars piled up on 50th Street, with a line of about seven vehicles to each pump.
Bryan and Linda Richmond of Charleston had been waiting for 20 minutes, and they'd barely moved their car into the gas station lot. The two were just arriving back in West Virginia from vacation in Hilton Head, S.C., but they couldn't make it home because a tree was blocking their way.
Sissonville resident Peggy Morrison waited nearly an hour to get gasoline.
She said she needed to drive her mother to Beckley, and there was no gas available where she lived.
As Morrison restarted her gold Kia Sorento and slowly pulled the car forward one spot, she said she'd seen a lot of people filling up gas cans.
That's why Tim and Andrea Huffman were at the Exxon pump -- they needed gas for their generator, although Tim said the Chevy he was driving was running pretty low, too.
The Huffmans, who were on their way back to Elkview, had been waiting at the gas station for 25 minutes.
"It's the closest one we found," Tim said.
Panic about possible gas shortages led to real shortages in some places. The city of Dunbar said there was no more gasoline at any stations. Stations on Charleston's West Side and East End also were reporting there was no more gasoline.
Shortages extended beyond the pumps, too. Signs plastered on the Exxon doors read "NO ICE," and Steven Bolick of Kanawha City said he couldn't find ice anywhere Saturday afternoon. His girlfriend was bringing some home from her job at the hospital, and he said he hoped he'd get food cold before it spoiled.
On Saturday, Bolick was clearing tree branches from his girlfriend's grandmother's yard, using a bright orange handsaw to cut up pieces before dragging them across Kanawha Avenue toward the river. He was waiting on a chain saw, which was supposed to arrive later in the day.
He said he stood outside during Friday's storm because he thought it was safer, and he watched the trees bend over his home on Chesterfield Avenue.
"It was bad," he said. "I thought my house was going to get crushed."
Up the street, Marion Aburahma ducked under a downed utility line as she hauled debris in her yard.
She said she didn't know if the line was dangerous because she hadn't seen anyone from the city or the power company, and she hadn't been able to get help over the telephone.
"There is nobody," she said.
Aburahma was waiting to remove the largest of the limbs until she could get a chainsaw, and she said she planned on buying a generator, too.
Also on Kanawha Avenue, Jo Kessler was dealing with an uprooted tree that was sprawled horizontally across her driveway and into her neighbor's yard.
The tree fell about 7:30 p.m. Friday, but Kessler was at a dinner party, and her son was the only one home.
"He said it sounded like a bomb going off," she said
By Saturday afternoon, family friends and workers from Robert L. Wolfe Construction stood on the tree, sawing off thick limbs and helping clear up debris.
Kessler held a glass of ice water as she watched the men work.
"In West Virginia, we're not supposed to get stuff like this," she said.