Duncan Suzuki

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

High winter winds rip through county

Wind gusts of up to 58 miles per hour left about 3,000 Pulaski County customers without power Wednesday and caused significant damage to the roof of one area church.
Todd Burns, corporate communications manager for Appalachian Power Company, said high winds moved into the service area around 4 a.m. Wednesday and, within an hour, reports of power outages started pouring into the business.
By 11 a.m., he noted, 19,500 customers in Appalachian’s three-state service area (Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee) were without power. He said most of the outages were in Virginia.
In Pulaski County, the highest gust, 58 miles per hour, was reported at the New River Valley Regional Airport at 8:01 a.m. Wednesday, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Ken Kostura in Blacksburg.
Besides power outages and downed trees and tree limbs, Church of God on Bob White Boulevard in Pulaski sustained an estimated $70,000 to $100,000 in damage to its roof and a heat pump that was literally ripped from the roof.
Pastor Jerry Collins said the insurance adjuster had been working with the church “really well” to allow repairs to be made quickly. With rain in the forecast for Sunday, he said workers are hoping to have enough repairs made to keep rain out of the building.
Collins said the church decided to switch to a metal roof from shingles a while back because the church is located in somewhat of a “wind funnel” that kept peeling shingles off the roof on a regular basis.
Wednesday, the metal roofing was peeled back and the wooden frame also sustained significant damage. The rooftop heat pump is the only thing that stopped the roof from peeling back farther, Collins said.
Despite the roof damage, he said the interior of the church wasn’t damaged. Daylight could be seen through several areas in the roof where the air returns were ripped out as the heat pump was tossed around.
Collins said workers were at the site this morning, reframing the roof in hopes of getting the sheeting back in place as soon as possible.
“The adjuster told us to just go ahead and do whatever we have to do,” the pastor said. “Of course, we took a lot of pictures for them.”
Collins said church services will not be affected by the damage.
Kostura said the weather service office received a lot of reports of gusts up to 60 miles per hour or more across the Blacksburg office’s forecast area. The highest gust reported in the forecast area was 70 miles per hour in Ashe County, N.C. at 3:43 a.m. Wednesday. Sustained winds were recorded at 50 miles per hour there at that time, he added.
The meteorologist didn’t have figures available for sustained winds in Pulaski County that day.
Asked whether high winds are more common now than they used to be in the past, Kostura said this area tends to get a lot of wind behind cold fronts, especially during winter months. However, he said he isn’t aware of any trends that are out of the ordinary. According to Burns, the winds posed a problem for electrical service because the ground was already wet or saturated in areas, making it easier for trees to topple over onto power lines.
Two other factors related to wind are branches being ripped from trees and tossed onto power lines or equipment, and power lines being blown into one another causing service to trip off.
He said about 1,100 customers off Lowman’s Ferry Road were without power for more than nine hours Wednesday when a tree fell on a power line. Members of Draper Fire Department had to respond when the tree sparked a brush and woods fire.
Another 1,000 customers were without power for about two hours in the Henry Avenue area, Burns added.
In addition to local power crews, he said crews from less effected areas in West Virginia and Tennessee came in to help restore power. All service was back on by late Thursday afternoon.
According to Burns, 2008 was a “rough year” for the power company when it came to wind. In February, a wind storm left 125,000 customers without power. He said that was the department’s worst wind storm in 25 years. When combined with Wednesday’s wind storm, he noted, “2008 came in with wind and went out with wind.”

High winter winds rip through county

Wind gusts of up to 58 miles per hour left about 3,000 Pulaski County customers without power Wednesday and caused significant damage to the roof of one area church.
Todd Burns, corporate communications manager for Appalachian Power Company, said high winds moved into the service area around 4 a.m. Wednesday and, within an hour, reports of power outages started pouring into the business.
By 11 a.m., he noted, 19,500 customers in Appalachian’s three-state service area (Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee) were without power. He said most of the outages were in Virginia.
In Pulaski County, the highest gust, 58 miles per hour, was reported at the New River Valley Regional Airport at 8:01 a.m. Wednesday, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Ken Kostura in Blacksburg.
Besides power outages and downed trees and tree limbs, Church of God on Bob White Boulevard in Pulaski sustained an estimated $70,000 to $100,000 in damage to its roof and a heat pump that was literally ripped from the roof.
Pastor Jerry Collins said the insurance adjuster had been working with the church “really well” to allow repairs to be made quickly. With rain in the forecast for Sunday, he said workers are hoping to have enough repairs made to keep rain out of the building.
Collins said the church decided to switch to a metal roof from shingles a while back because the church is located in somewhat of a “wind funnel” that kept peeling shingles off the roof on a regular basis.
Wednesday, the metal roofing was peeled back and the wooden frame also sustained significant damage. The rooftop heat pump is the only thing that stopped the roof from peeling back farther, Collins said.
Despite the roof damage, he said the interior of the church wasn’t damaged. Daylight could be seen through several areas in the roof where the air returns were ripped out as the heat pump was tossed around.
Collins said workers were at the site this morning, reframing the roof in hopes of getting the sheeting back in place as soon as possible.
“The adjuster told us to just go ahead and do whatever we have to do,” the pastor said. “Of course, we took a lot of pictures for them.”
Collins said church services will not be affected by the damage.
Kostura said the weather service office received a lot of reports of gusts up to 60 miles per hour or more across the Blacksburg office’s forecast area. The highest gust reported in the forecast area was 70 miles per hour in Ashe County, N.C. at 3:43 a.m. Wednesday. Sustained winds were recorded at 50 miles per hour there at that time, he added.
The meteorologist didn’t have figures available for sustained winds in Pulaski County that day.
Asked whether high winds are more common now than they used to be in the past, Kostura said this area tends to get a lot of wind behind cold fronts, especially during winter months. However, he said he isn’t aware of any trends that are out of the ordinary. According to Burns, the winds posed a problem for electrical service because the ground was already wet or saturated in areas, making it easier for trees to topple over onto power lines.
Two other factors related to wind are branches being ripped from trees and tossed onto power lines or equipment, and power lines being blown into one another causing service to trip off.
He said about 1,100 customers off Lowman’s Ferry Road were without power for more than nine hours Wednesday when a tree fell on a power line. Members of Draper Fire Department had to respond when the tree sparked a brush and woods fire.
Another 1,000 customers were without power for about two hours in the Henry Avenue area, Burns added.
In addition to local power crews, he said crews from less effected areas in West Virginia and Tennessee came in to help restore power. All service was back on by late Thursday afternoon.
According to Burns, 2008 was a “rough year” for the power company when it came to wind. In February, a wind storm left 125,000 customers without power. He said that was the department’s worst wind storm in 25 years. When combined with Wednesday’s wind storm, he noted, “2008 came in with wind and went out with wind.”