Forecast models show increasing confidence that Florence will bring strong winds and heavy rain into Appalachian Power’s service area through this weekend into early next week.
Storm Preparation Efforts
Appalachian Power is monitoring the storm’s track closely, and has plans in place to move employees and contractors into areas likely to experience damage and outages from the hurricane. Plans include securing lodging and staging areas for crews, as well logistics and contingency planning for facilities in areas where flooding issues may arise. AEP workers from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan will be available to travel into Appalachian Power’s service area Friday if needed.
Confidence is increasing that Hurricane Florence will produce heavy rain and high wind gusts in Appalachian Power’s service area. Much of the company’s Virginia and West Virginia service areas could see 40-45 mph wind gusts over the weekend.
A blanket of 2-4” of rainfall is expected across the company’s service area, with higher amounts in parts of Virginia. The greatest potential for wind and rain that could damage electric facilities is on Sunday, especially in higher elevation areas. The heaviest rainfall is currently forecast to occur Sunday morning through late Monday night.
Flooding and high winds are concerning characteristics of this storm because they could hamper the power company’s ability to respond. Technicians cannot safely make repairs while trees and limbs are still falling, and cannot safely work from buckets or on poles in winds greater than 40 mph.
Appalachian Power continues to monitor the potential impacts of the storm on its 6 hydroelectric dams on the New and Roanoke rivers in Virginia. Hydro operations staff is adjusting reservoir levels to make way for heavy rains in the watersheds. Lakeside property owners are urged to secure docks and shorelines in the event of localized flooding.
Appalachian Power reliably helps other utilities in times of need, and once service to customers within our own service area is secure we anticipate making workers available to other utilities affected by the storm.
APPCO customers can get specific information about the outages affecting their accounts via text message and/or email by subscribing to Appalachian Power outage alerts. To sign up, please visit www.appalachianpower.com/alerts.
Appalachian Power hydro plant water levels and flows can be monitored at www.aep.com/environment/conservation/hydro/. Specific project information is available at www.SmithMountainProject.com, www.ClaytorHydro.com , and their social media sites.
Report an outage, check outage status and more by downloading the Appalachian Power mobile app at www.AppalachianPower.com/App.
A snapshot view of current outages is available anytime at www.appalachianpower.com. Go to the Outages and Problems section of the site and click “View Outage Map.”
If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
Additional safety tips are posted at https://www.appalachianpower.com/outages/faq/OutageSafetyTips.aspx