Tomblin Declares State of Emergency after Storms

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency after a wave of violent storms left more than 500,000 customers in the state without power.

The storms pounded West Virginia on Friday night, after a day of sweltering heat.

Tomblin said in a statement that "the damage from today's storm was widespread and in many places severe."

He said that with temperatures expected to be near 100 degrees this weekend, it's urgent that electricity be restored to customers quickly.

Tomblin said he's committed to using "100 percent of our state's resources for as long as we need to get this cleaned up."

The storms brought heavy rains and strong winds to the Charleston area, toppling trees in addition to knocking out power to most residents.

Kanawha County officials said in a news release Friday night that they had opened an emergency operations center and were "preparing for a long term event" after the storms came through around 7 p.m.

Officials there said emergency dispatchers had received nearly 2,000 calls. They urged residents not to touch downed power lines or drive across them.

The city of Charleston said it would open three locations as shelters from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those without power in Kanawha County. County officials were coordinating the opening of shelters with the Red Cross. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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