Virginia – The brutal storm that affected millions of people across the nation is still impacting many regions in several states. Thousands of delayed and cancelled flights, millions of people left without power, and tens of deaths are the result of the arctic bomb cyclone that hit the country before and during the Christmas weekend. The latest data shows that the massive storm claimed at least 55 lives nationwide, 27 of them in Erie County, New York.
Temperatures plummeted significantly below average from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, and about 60% of Americans were subject to some type of winter weather advisory or warning. Tens of thousands of homes experienced power outages, and some regions in New York State are still heavily impacted by heavy snowfalls, described as a major lake-effect snow event. Things should improve on Wednesday, when more moderate temperatures are expected to finally arrive.
Thousands of Virginia residents were also among those left without power, and as of Monday evening, some are still without power. Appalachian Power said that more than 1,000 employees have been committed to restoring electric service since Friday, when about 50,000 of their customers were left without power. As of Monday afternoon, power had been restored to more than 90% of the customers, and the company was confident that the remaining 10% would get power by the end of the day.
Appalachian Power workers had to remain in the affected areas for hours and restore power slowly to avoid overloading electric lines due to extremely low temperatures, but that extra step won’t be needed on Monday due to higher temperatures. The remaining 10% of customers are mostly in the Roanoke and Lynchburg areas, Appalachian Power said in a statement.
In some areas, however, the power will be restored on Tuesday due to extensive repairs. Currently, these are the counties with the most power outages: Bedford County (408), Botetourt County (405), Campbell County (470), Franklin County (1,639), Henry County (145), Lynchburg (1,234), Pulaski County (158), and Roanoke County (1,018).
“Through this time of outages in the extreme cold and through the Christmas holiday, we wish to express our appreciation to our customers for their patience and understanding; to state and local officials for their assistance; and to our employees, contractors, and those who came from many states away to help restore power in this difficult time”, AEP said in a statement.