MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — More than 176,000 West Virginians sat without power Friday evening facing an oppressively hot weekend, a week after violent storms knocked more than three times that many people off the grid.
Heat advisories are in place through Saturday for the Eastern Panhandle and the western half of the state, from the Northern Panhandle to the southern coalfields. The National Weather Service said some areas could get severe thunderstorms over the weekend, too.
Ninety-degree heat and storms all week have slowed efforts to restore electricity since the powerful storm that tore across the state June 29 and knocked out power to more than 680,000 customers.
Still without service Friday afternoon were nearly 117,000 Appalachian Power customers and some 59,600 Mon Power customers. Nearly 34,000 of those still awaiting electricity were in Kanawha County, the state's most populous.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered a burning ban Friday, citing scarce water supplies and the ongoing emergency response.
"With our emergency personnel working hard to provide recovery assistance, along with the unusually dry conditions, we must take extra precautions to help prevent accidental fires," Tomblin said.
Power popped on early Friday morning at Robin Workman's home in Cabin Creek, but with the weekend forecast, she was not hopeful it would stay on. She's keeping the generator and gas cans handy just in case.
"My sister-in-law got power the other night and then lost it again. They didn't even have it 24 hours," she said, "so no, I'm not that confident."
Workman lives with her husband, three sons, daughter-in-law and grandson, but since the power failed, they've all moved into a single room in her mother-in-law's home next door. They connected fans to the generator, laid mattresses on the family room floor and tried to stay comfortable.