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Sandy aftermath costly to West Virginia

While Superstorm Sandy spared West Virginia the extreme damage that the New Jersey and New York coastline suffered, the storm damage and snow removal have cost the state $4 million and Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox estimated total will rise to $6 million.

The clearing of trees, downed power lines and snow from highways has been completed for all but a few highways in the state. The storm closed parts of Interstate 68 and U.S. 219 and 250. Five deaths were also attributed to the storm, including a truck accident, falling tree limbs, heart attacks and hypothermia.

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Secretary Mattox reported that only 16 secondary roads remained closed in rural areas. He noted that most of the damage was concentrated in the mountain areas.

The $6 million in total damage expected is less than half what was caused last summer by the derecho wind event. That caused $14 million in damage across the entire state. The state did receive reimbursement from FEMA for the devastation caused by the derecho.

Mattox expected that FEMA would provide some funds to cover the cost of snow removal from Sandy. He indicated that West Virginia should have ample funding to keep roads open this winter, and that there was extra salt and sand on hand from last year to keep roads safe this winter.

West Virginia escape flood damage from Sandy, but with an early snow fall, there is always the risk of flooding in mountain areas, which is especially a risk for vehicles. Never drive across flooded roads, as even large SUVs and pickups can be swept off a water-covered road.

Source: Charleston Daily Mail, "State spends millions on storm cleanup," Jared Hunt, November 6, 2012

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