Downtown Williamson, West Virginia, more closely resembles the scene of a war zone than a county-seat as buildings are missing roofs, crumbled bricks line the streets and yellow tape has city blocks closed off to the public.
Strong winds rushed through the Mingo County city this morning, causing heavy damage to several buildings in the city, including taking roughly half the roof off a bar known as Dandy’s.
According to Jessica Dillon, who was an eyewitness, at exactly 10:15 a.m. this morning, a burst of strong wind ripped through the city, leaving a panorama of disaster in its wake.
Dillon says the roof top of Dandy’s was badly damaged and many of the bricks atop the magistrate court building were blown off.
The strong winds forced many residents and offices to retreat to the basements of their buildings out of fear of being struck by debris. A social media post was circulating, stating that the Mingo County Health Department had evacuated to their basement during the surge of wind.
“About 10-15 vehicles were damaged, including two police cruisers,” she said, adding, “The roof blew approximately 250-300 feet up the street.”
The West Virginia Court System released a statement saying, “Mingo County Magistrate Court is now closed for the day due to storm damage to the building.”
In neighboring Pike County, Kentucky, large billboards have been nearly toppled over, apparently the result of incredibly strong winds.
Fortunately, no injuries have been reported.
Winds are still blowing hard in Downtown Williamson and the city is still without electricity – street lights are also out of order.
Southern WV Community and Technical College (Williamson campus) has closed due to a power outage. Logan campus has power and classes are as scheduled at this time.
Across the state, approximately 88,556 AEP customers are without power, roughly 19% of the state.
Elsewhere in the state, the heavy rain on saturated ground has led to widespread flooding in many communities. Several school systems are closing early.
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