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HUNTINGTON — Thousands of West Virginians remained without power Thursday afternoon, most in Cabell and Wayne counties, after an icy winter storm downed tree limbs and power lines and coated roads. Some may not see service restored until this weekend.

American Electric Power spokesperson Phil Moye said while employees have been working to restore power throughout the state, tree limbs covered in ice and snow continued to fall and caused new outages throughout the day Thursday.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, AEP reported that 15,280 customers in Cabell County and 12,371 in Wayne County were without electricity, but crews were continuing to try to restore power.

Moye said even though employees were working hard to restore power, some people could go without electricity into the weekend.

“As we continue to see new outage activity, it’s kind of difficult to say when we’ll have folks’ power back on,” he said. “I would imagine we probably will be going into the weekend. We’ll be making headway, of course, but I imagine we will have some cases that go into the weekend.”

As of 10:30 a.m. Thursday, the city of Huntington reported the Public Works department had received reports of 15 downed trees and were working to remove them as quickly as possible — an effort that was slowed if power lines were involved, since AEP must remove the line before Public Works can remove the tree.

The winter weather advisory stretched from Texas to Virginia and power outages were scattered through several states, with the most in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Appalachian Power posted on social media that it prepared for the storm by recruiting help from nearly 200 workers from Indiana and Ohio. These workers were in West Virginia by Wednesday night ready to assist with outages.

As power issues continued to arise Thursday, Appalachian Power said local employees who were unaffected by the storm also assisted in areas with power outages.

Neighboring Kentucky had nearly 70,000 power outages reported at 9 a.m. Thursday, according to poweroutage.us, a utility tracking website.

Though many were inconvenienced by the loss of power Thursday, officials in the Tri-State urged people to stay home due to the treacherous road conditions.

Several crashes occurred on Interstate 64 on Thursday morning. All lanes of I-64 westbound near the Nitro exit were closed for several hours for a tractor-trailer crash.

“Sometimes Mother Nature throws us curves; we have a couple hundred trees down, which impacts our ability to clear roads,” Scott Eplin, West Virginia Division of Highways District 2 manager, said in a release. “Those impact not only us but emergency response personnel and utilities as well.”

Kentucky road crews were responding to numerous calls of icy limbs and power lines down, Lexington police said in a tweet that urged people not to travel “unless absolutely necessary.”

Some roadways were covered in snow and ice and blocked by fallen tree limbs, Kentucky transportation officials said.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet sent out a release at 4 p.m. stating progress on clearing roads had been made throughout Thursday, but motorists should still expect snow to cover roads into Friday and should adjust plans accordingly.

The release states crews and contractors will continue to work to clear roads into the evening, and residents can find real-time information at http://GoKY.ky.gov.

“{span}We’re expecting some progress on clearing roads today, but already know snow removal operations will continue into Friday, if not longer,” the notice stated.{/span}

{span}In Ohio, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said the county remains on a level 2 snow advisory, indicating travel is hazardous.{/span}

{span}”Some of the main thoroughfares that have been scraped and treated are in decent shape. However, most secondary roads remain snow and ice covered, making driving conditions dangerous,” Lawless said on Facebook at about 1 p.m. Thursday. “Many roadways have fallen trees and debris on them from the ice storm. State and county road crews, as well as Township trustees and fire departments, have been working diligently treating roadways, as well as working to cut these trees and clear them from the roadways.”{/span}

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