WHEELING. W.Va. (WTRF) — Ohio County EMA Director Lou Vargo says it’s not often that we get hurricane force winds, 60 to 80 miles an hour, tearing trees out of the ground, and wreaking havoc on power lines.

With trees and power lines down, caution tape is up.

Wheeling Police Department Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says, “If we’ve closed a roadway, it’s because of a very hazardous situation and yet we still have people driving around cones and barricades so again just slow down, pay attention to what’s been marked off and closed, the intersections, and there are many in the city.”

Ohio County EMA Director, Lou Vargo says, “many of the businesses downtown are closed, so we encourage people to, one, if you’re out traveling, be very very lines and trees. And if you’re entering the Wheeling Tunnel, slow down. The lights are out and the darkness is taking drivers by surprise. They’re hitting their brakes, so you might need to use extra caution. The snapping power lines caused one fire.”

Wheeling Fire Department Chief Jim Blazier says, “We had a fire in the 2100 block of Market Street right across from our main station. What happened was with the high winds, it had taken a power line and it came in contact with the rear of the building. With outages so widespread, they are working around the clock.”

 “We’ve declared a state of emergency in the city and we’re working with the Ohio County Commission to declare a state of emergency here in the county,” says Vargo.

As the power remains off, what the weather brings next is a real concern.

“We’re right now really focusing on the weather ahead and the heat and having some discussions about cooling shelters potentially if the power’s not on,” says Schwertfeger.

Chief Schwertfeger says there are many traffic lights that are not working.

At those intersections, he says just treat them like you would a four- way stop.

He adds….be courteous….and patient.