CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rhonda Payne wasn't sure what she would do when she woke to discover there was no electricity where she was staying Tuesday.
Her 4-year-old grandson, Derius, suffers from asthma and requires daily breathing treatments.
"I was going to go knocking on doors," Payne said. "If not, we'd end up being in the emergency room. This has happened before."
Payne and Derius were just two of the people who came to stay at an emergency shelter at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Sissonville Tuesday.
Payne brought the boy, his mother, her niece and nephew to stay until power is restored.
"If it wasn't for this shelter, I don't know what we would have done," Payne said. "I would have gone door to door asking."
While a few people had come to the Aldersgate shelter for breathing treatments and a warm meal, officials were expecting more for dinner and to stay the night.
Volunteers were expecting 50 cots from the Red Cross, said Brad Bennett, one of the pastors at the church. Bennett said he expected power to be out for at least 24 hours because a transmission line was down.
"This is just a lull," Pat Taylor, a church member and coordinator of the community center, said while looking at the few people who had gathered there Tuesday afternoon. "We had people come in and eat lunch and [there will] be more people during the evening meal from 5 to 7."
Power was out at the church and the shelter was relying on a 100-watt generator. Taylor said the shelter would stay open as needed.
"We'll stay here until we're no longer needed," he said. "We were open nine days last summer [following the June 29 derecho] and we served more than 2,700 meals during that time."
Rosalie Fisher also visited the Sissonville shelter. The 83-year-old said she wasn't concerned that her power was off early Tuesday because she knew she'd have a place to go.
"I'll just stay here," Fisher said. "This is my church.
"I've got a son [vacationing] in Hilton Head, S.C.," Fisher said. "They're the wise ones. They booked another week."
Across Kanawha County, seven emergency shelters opened overnight, including the one at Aldersgate, officials said. Others include the Salvation Army in Charleston, the Kanawha City Recreation Center, Riverside High School, the Hansford Senior Center in St. Albans, Cabin Creek Volunteer Fire Department and the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department.
Kanawha County Manager Jennifer Sayre recommended that people without power stay with family or friends who do have electricity.
Those who are going to an emergency shelter should take prescription and emergency medication, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, flashlights with extra batteries, small board games, books, specialty snacks and juices for those with dietary restrictions, basic snacks, baby food and formula, diapers, chairs, their driver's license or other photo ID, insurance papers and other comfort items, she said.
Around the state, 27 emergency shelters have opened in Berkeley, Greenbrier, Jefferson, Kanawha, Monongalia, Morgan, Nicholas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Upshur and Wyoming counties, according to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office.
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Mon Power was reporting 118,685 West Virginia customers were without power. Appalachian Power reported as of noon that 149,015 of their West Virginia customers were without power.
In Preston County, the Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter in the Bruceton Brandonville Volunteer Fire Department station. Nearby Interstate 68 closed around 10 p.m. Monday because of snow and traffic accidents, Fire Chief Randy Spiker said.
The interstate reopened Tuesday afternoon.
Snow amounts have varied in that area.
"It's been a broad range," Spiker said. "In Bruceton [Mills], we probably have 4 inches, but go seven, eight miles and you'll find a foot and a half."
Power started going out Monday night, he said. The fire station had power and backup generators just in case, he said.