CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Kanawha County Commission is urging residents to stay safe after freezing rain and snow overnight made road conditions hazardous and knocked out power in several areas.

The commission says approximately 15,000 customers in Kanawha County alone are affected by the outages reported by Appalachian Power. The company is reporting approximately 521 outages in several counties and communities in our region affecting roughly 23,000 customers. Crews are still assessing many of the outages to determine estimated restoration times.

“Last year we had the frost, the frozen ice and we were without electricity for 14 days… I got up at 5 and about 5:20 the lights went down and I thought, ‘Oh no,'” says Donna McCoy of Cabell County.

According to officials with Appalachian Power, the counties most affected by the outages are Cabell, Kanawha, Lincoln and Wayne.

“In the middle of the night my power went out briefly but it came right back on and then this morning about noon it went out. I’ve lived here a very long time and rarely do we have power outages and if it goes out it’s only out for maybe an hour or so,” says Margaret McLaughlin of Cabell County.

To keep up-to-date with when power will be restored in your area or to report, check the Appalachian Power outage webpage. Kentucky Power is reporting 58 outages that affect approximately 1,360 customers, with restoration times ranging from this afternoon to later tonight, and Ohio Power is reporting 37 outages affecting approximately 1,997, with restoration times ranging throughout the afternoon. Crews are still assessing one larger outage in Jackson County, Ohio, to determine a restoration time. For more on restoration times or to report an outage, visit the Kentucky Power and Ohio Power websites.

The Kanawha County Commission is urging those who must travel to use “extreme caution,” drive slowly and keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles.

Appalachian Power officials say that gusty winds throughout the service territory could cause trees laden with snow to fall and cause additional outages and low temperatures this evening could lead to refreezing.

The commission also says those using a generator due to the power outages in the state should use the following safety tips:

  • Do not connect a standby generator into your home’s electrical system.
  • Set up and run your generator outside of the home and away from any garage doors, windos or vents.
  • Start your generator before you connect appliances.
  • Use a heavy-duty extension cord to connect appliances directly into the generator’s outlet.

Appalachian Power also warns people to treat all downed power lines as live power lines and to stay away from them. They also say to keep children and pets away from the fallen lines as well as anything the lines may touch. Officials also say to never remove debris that is within 10 feet of a power line.