Utility pole work

With the temperature pleasantly mild for January and the sun shining, many people in Smyth County were still assessing and cleaning up damage Sunday from a severe storm Saturday night.

A Sunday afternoon Appalachian Power press release listed Smyth as one of three Virginia counties where damage to its system was greater. The utility projected that the majority of its restoration efforts in the county were expected to be complete by 10 p.m. Monday.

The company’s outage map showed that between 500 and 1,999 customers remain without power.

The strong weather system brought heavy rain and damaging winds to much of the region Saturday. By early Sunday morning, Appalachian Power said more than 37,000 of its customers were without electricity. The outages were widespread across its service territory.

However, Appalachian Power took note of early forecasts specifying the potential for severe weather and placed its employees and contractors on alert.

The Sunday press release said, “Today we are following through on that plan, keeping crews and contractors in place where needed and shifting workers in areas with fewer outages to more heavily-damaged areas. We have been successful in securing additional help from outside our service area, including more than 50 line workers from North Carolina who are traveling to assist with restoration in the Kingsport area and in far Southwest Virginia. Another 60 line workers from Pennsylvania and New Jersey are traveling to damaged areas of West Virginia and will begin assisting local employees this afternoon.”

The utility did urge everyone to “treat all downed lines as live power lines and stay away from them. Never touch downed power lines or sparking equipment. Keep children and pets away from fallen lines and anything the lines may touch.”

Marion’s Town Manager Bill Rush said most of the damage in that community was caused by downed trees.

By mid-afternoon Sunday, the Virginia Department of Transportation was still reporting several Smyth and Washington county roads closed due to downed trees.

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