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We did it before, we'll do it again

HERE we go again.

Four months after the derecho roared through West Virginia, snapping trees and power poles and knocking out power to more than half of the state, we're again getting socked by severe weather.

This time it's a rare combination of weather systems, a massive hurricane coming in from the east and a cold front descending from the north.

In West Virginia, the result is high winds, heavy rain and thick snow in the higher elevations.  Forecasters are warning of flooding and the possibility of more than two feet of snow in some areas.

This time, however, West Virginia has had some time to prepare, unlike the derecho which tore through our state with little warning.  

The power companies, offices of emergency services, highway crews, first responders and the rest of us have had several days to make ready.

Still, there's no way to be fully prepared for a storm of this magnitude.  

Appalachian Power Co. can't predict how long it will take to restore electricity to all of its customers, while FirstEnergy says it may take a week to 10 days to get everyone back on the grid.

Appalachian Power says because of the advance warning, it had time to bring in about 400 additional workers to help restore power, but finding additional crews will be difficult since most of the extra manpower is being funneled to the population centers of the northeast.  

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Monday and the state Division of Homeland Security began 24/7 operations.  

Tomblin wisely canceled campaign appearances, as did President Obama and Mitt Romney.

We know that the days ahead will be challenging for thousands of West Virginians and millions more outside the state in the path of the storm.  

Severe weather is always humbling; it reminds us that even though we've made remarkable progress in controlling our surroundings, there are times when Mother Nature simply will not be tamed.

Fortunately, these are also the times when we reset our priorities by making sure our families are safe and by helping friends, neighbors and, yes, even total strangers who are in need.  

The snow will get shoveled, the downed tree will get removed and the culvert will get cleared.

Just as with the derecho, West Virginians have to demonstrate their grit and determination.  We'll get through it; we always do.  

Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.


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