CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Power outages, roads blocked by toppled trees and the threat of roof collapse from thick accumulations of wet, heavy snow continued to plague West Virginians living in the state's highlands three days after the remnants of Hurricane Sandy stormed into the state.
On Wednesday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, the state's adjutant general, and state emergency management director Jimmy Gianato took part in video teleconference sessions with emergency services officials in 20 of West Virginia's hardest-hit counties.
"The idea is to do what West Virginians do in times like these -- we check in on each other," Tomblin said during a break between sessions.
Topics discussed included the evacuation of 72 residents of the Summersville Manor apartment complex in Nicholas County before the building's roof partially collapsed early Wednesday, and the storm-related shutdown of the Mount Storm Power Station in Grant County.
"Water absorbing into the snow is threatening roofs in areas of heavy snowfall," Gianato said. A total of eight snow-related roof collapses have damaged homes and businesses in Nicholas County so far, including two convenience stores and a grocery store. No injuries were reported.
Emergency officials in Grant County reported during the teleconference that the 1,600-megawatt Mount Storm Power Station in Grant County, Dominion's largest coal-fired power plant, was not operating as a result of the storm, which dumped 35 inches of snow on the area.
Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said a storm-related fault triggered the automatic shutdown of two of three generating units at the plant on Monday night. Mount Storm's third unit had been shut down earlier for planned maintenance, he said.
The shutdown of the power plant has nothing to do with regional customer outages, Norvelle said, "It just means we have to get the electricity from another power station or purchase it from off the power pool," he said.
Fifteen people spent the night at an emergency shelter in the Mount Storm Volunteer Fire Department, Grant County emergency officials reported.
Trees toppled by heavy snow continued to block highways on Wednesday, including a section of U.S. 119 in Taylor County, a stretch of U.S. 250 in the Belington area of Barbour County, and U.S. 219 between Parsons and the Randolph County line in Tucker County. Also in Tucker County, portions of W.Va. 72 and W.Va. 38 were closed by fallen trees, as was a section of U.S. 50 near Cheat Mountain in Preston County.