Storm cleanup continues in area

NEW MANCHESTER – By 6 p.m. Wednesday, with the skies darkening and the winds blowing, Ed Wiersbicki was starting to get that sinking feeling.

“I was in the house, trying get everything tied down and the windows shut,” he said.

But all his precautions couldn’t prevent what happened next: A 60-foot maple tree was uprooted by high winds and landed in his front yard, clipping the rain gutter on his house and taking down his power lines.

Assessing the damage on Thursday afternoon, he acknowledged it could have been a lot worse.

“This is the second time this has happened in three years. I said, ‘Oh, no. Not again,'” he said.

Wiersbicki, 67, of 3602 Veterans Blvd., was among a handful of Hancock County residents who still were without power Thursday night. MonPower said most customers would have their power restored by tonight.

The outages, flooding and damage were the result of storms that rolled through the area on Wednesday.

Across the street from Wiersbicki, at Tomlinson Run State Park, downed trees littered the camp sites, trails and roadways.

“There’s trees down everywhere,” said Albert Jesse Mestrovic III, park assistant superintendent. “We got hit pretty hard.”

Mestrovic, with help from state park personnel, the New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department and the West Virginia Division of Highways, spent most of the day Thursday cutting up trees and clearing land.

“I’m trying to get the campground’s reservable sites up and operating for the weekend,” he said.

Despite the number of trees down, there was little damage and no injuries, Mestrovic said. One tree fell on a tent at a camp site, but the campers had already taken shelter in their car, he said.

Elsewhere in the county, most flood waters had receded by Thursday evening, said John Paul Jones, director of the Hancock County Office of Emergency Management.

“I don’t know of any other place that’s having anything going on right now,” he said.

Some of the worst flooding on Wednesday occurred on Kings Creek Road near Weirton. Hancock County sheriff’s deputies had to rescue some residents of Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Court and their pets.

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