INDEPENDENCE TWP.-The mercury rose into the mid-90s Sunday afternoon as folks living along Archers Fork Road endured a ninth day without electricity following the widespread storm that struck the area June 29.
Resident Carollyn Cochran said she's concerned about some of the elderly neighbors who live in that area of Independence Township.
"I don't know why the township trustees didn't bring a generator to the township building so some of those people could get out of the heat," she said.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
A crew resets a pole and power line for Washington Electric Cooperative on a steep hillside near Archers Fork Road in Independence Township Sunday afternoon. The cooperative lost 118 power poles during the widespread wind storm on June 29.
Cochran said trees fell across one elderly woman's driveway, preventing her from driving anywhere for help if she had needed it.
"We have lines down everywhere, and there are trees in the creeks now. What if it rains and we get a flood?" Cochran asked.
Both Cochran and her daughter, Brenda Ramsey, who lives just across the road, have had water after the storm, and they've been able to keep their refrigerators running by using generators.
People without transportation and in need of ice or water can contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 376-7070, Ext. 0, to request items be brought to them.
People with transportation are asked to go to the nearest volunteer fire department or cooling station. To find out which departments or stations have supplies, they can also contact the sheriff's office.
Information on cooling station locations is also available by calling the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross at (740) 373-0281.
The Gospel Mission in the Harmar Community Center at 307 Lancaster St., Marietta, will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday providing water to people in need. For more information, call (740) 350-4417.
The Washington County Department of Job and Family Services has received some emergency federal funding to assist needy residents affected by the recent power outage with gasoline and food costs. Low family income criteria apply (below 200 percent of the federal poverty level). For more information, call (740) 373-5513.
AEP requests anyone using generators to contact the company first via the web site or call 1-800-672-2231.
Power outages as of Sunday night
AEP Ohio customers
Washington County -157.
Morgan County - 0.
Noble County - 0.
Washington Electric Cooperative - approximately 500 in Washington and Monroe counties.
Source: www.aepohio.com, www.weci.org
But they believe the county could do more to help those, especially the elderly, who may not have access to a generator or water.
Ramsey noted that a phone number has been provided for people to call the Washington County Sheriff's Office if they're in need of assistance.
"But what if your phone doesn't work?" she said. "We have to take a cell phone up on the ridge in order to make a call from here."
Don West, who lives nearby on Archers Fork Road, carries a large plastic water tank in the bed of his pickup truck.
"I have to haul water for my horse and goat-this has been a little rough on them," he said.
West has a small generator that provides enough electricity to pump water from his well to use for the animal and his family.
"It's so small that last night I had to shut the generator off at the house," he said. "The weather was hot, and my wife and I didn't get any sleep at all."
West said he's shopping for a larger generator, but for the time being has managed to use the small one to keep his freezer cold enough to prevent his perishable food from spoiling.
None of the residents were sure when their power would be restored, but said they had seen Washington Electric Cooperative crews in the area since Thursday or Friday. The cooperative is the electrical power provider in that end of Washington County.
"I just feel sorry for those linemen who have been working out in this hot weather," said Judy Eddy of Shay Ridge Road.
Eddy had just returned home from a hospital stay in Columbus when the June 29 storm struck.
"I've heard our power might be back on by Tuesday," she said. "But we're OK-you learn to cope when you live out in the country. We've been without power for a couple of weeks during the winter."
Washington Electric Cooperative spokesperson Jennifer Greene said another 300 of the cooperative's 10,500 members had power restored Sunday, bringing the total without power in Washington and Monroe counties to between 450 and 500 customers.
"Most of those are in eastern Washington County and southeastern Monroe County," she said. "I've been told that we should have most of our members back online by midnight Monday or early Tuesday, although there will still be some isolated homes that may take longer."
Greene noted that 118 of the cooperative's power poles had been snapped into by the June 29 wind storm, and it would take some time to reset all of those poles.
Crews from other states, including Pennsylvania and Kentucky, as well as from other electric cooperatives in Ohio, have been assisting with the Washington Electric Cooperative's power restoration efforts, she said.
American Electric Power Ohio reported only 157 customers left without electricity in Washington County Sunday evening, while Athens County had 2,356 AEP Ohio customers out of power.
AEP was reporting complete power restoration in the other surrounding counties of Morgan, Monroe and Noble.
For the past week, Newport Volunteer Fire Department has provided a public cooling station for residents affected by the storm.
"We've been pretty busy after we finally got the word out that people can come in, get some water and ice and sit in the air conditioning for a few minutes," said Bill Reed with the fire department.
He said the cooling station has been open daily and remains open until it's evident no more people are going to show up in need of ice and water.
Washington County Emergency Management Agency Director Jeff Lauer said other cooling stations were available at the Grandview and Little Hocking volunteer fire departments as well as at the Decatur Community Center on Sunday. The Gospel Mission in the Harmar Community Building was also providing water to storm victims Sunday.
Those in need of water and ice or a place to cool off from the summer heat wave can find a location by calling the Washington County Sheriff's Office at (740) 376-7070, ext. 0.
Lauer said the county emergency operations center, which has been set up on the second floor of the sheriff's dispatch office on Fourth Street in Marietta since June 29, received few calls for assistance on Saturday.
"Mostly people were asking whether food vouchers would be available to help replace perishable food that had to be tossed due to the power outage caused by the storm," he said. "But this area hasn't been declared for individual and business assistance by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)."
Lauer said he would be talking with local government officials today about costs incurred due to the power outage.
"We're trying to get a total dollar figure on how much was spent on providing and delivering ice and water and how much the overtime costs were for local governments," he said.
The total amount spent will be forwarded to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency that will add Washington County's figures to other counties in an effort to obtain some reimbursement of those costs from the federal government.