CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A 71-year-old West Virginia woman whose body was found buried beneath three feet of snow is that state's sixth death blamed on Superstorm Sandy, giving West Virginia a higher death toll than any of the more than dozen other states lashed by the violent storm's outer bands.
Family members discovered the body Wednesday on the Webster County woman's gravel driveway while they were clearing it, said Amy Shuler Goodwin, a spokeswoman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The woman was last known to be alive Monday, and family members suspect she had gone outside to feed her dogs, Goodwin said.
The heavy, wet show churned out by Sandy throughout West Virginia has become a leading culprit behind the state's deaths, while also clogging roadways and helping to knock out electricity for hundreds of thousands of households and businesses. Goodwin estimated that 136,000 state customers remained without power Thursday afternoon, down from more than 190,000 a day earlier.
The ferocious weather also stranded the family of a 68-year-old Preston County woman while they tried to drive her to the hospital. She died Tuesday, said Goodwin, who cited information from the state medical examiner's office.
The snow was falling in Tucker County when a car driven by Nanci Hedrick, 41, slid into the path of a cement truck Monday. An 88-year-old Raleigh County woman succumbed to hypothermia late Sunday. Carbon monoxide poisoning claimed a 51-year-old Upshur County man Tuesday while he ran a gas-powered generator in his garage.
A falling tree limb killed John Rose Sr., 60 and a GOP legislative candidate, as he checked fences on his Barbour County deer farm on Tuesday. But the medical examiner is not attributing the storm to a second death reported in that county, of a man in his 60s who had been shoveling snow at his home.