1:20 p.m. May 18, 2015 UPDATE:
An outage at an Appalachian Power substation in Welch, WV was caused by a squirrel. That's according to Appalachian Power spokesperson Phil Moye. The outage left around 3,000 customers without electricity for around two hours, and caused four schools to be dismissed early.
Apparently this is a problem that happens more often in the fall. The squirrel became grounded while touching an energized piece of equipment. That caused safety devices to kick in and shut down the power. Appalachian Power crews inspected the lines and the equipment for damage prior to re-energizing the substation.
Appalachian Power is reporting that electrical service has been resorted to all customers in McDowell and Wyoming Counties as of 11:15 a.m. on Monday, May 18, 2015.
The McDowell County Schools' transportation department announced the early dismissal of students from Welch Elementary, Fall River Elementary, Mount View Middle and Mount View High Schools. Elementary students were still on the buses when the decision was made. Bus drivers were informed to turn around and bring the children home. Middle and High School students were picked up at around 9 a.m.
There is no word on what lead to the outage, which also included around 100 Appalachian Power customers in Wyoming County. Officials in McDowell County said the outage extended out from Welch to Davy, Roderfield, Big Four and North Welch. There is no word on when power will be restored to the area.