News Column

Storms Leave Thousands without Power in Va., N.C.

Jan 31, 2013

Cindy Clayton

More than 14,000 homes and businesses were without power shortly after 7 a.m. in Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina after a storm that moved in from the west with heavy rains and high winds.

A tornado watch and wind advisory have expired, but gusty winds are expected to continue through the day, according to the National Weather Service.

Gusts of 61 mph were recorded shortly before 3 a.m. today at Norfolk International Airport, according to the weather service website. The highest winds had decreased by 5 a.m., but the breezy conditions will continue today with winds continuing out of the west at 20 mph and gusts above 30 mph.

Just after 5 a.m., more than 34,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers were without service in Hampton Roads and North Carolina. By 7:10 a.m. service had been restored to many, but more than 11,900 were still in the dark in Southeastern Virginia. In Gloucester and the Northern Neck, more than 2,400 were without service. Fewer than 600 were in the dark in the company's service area of North Carolina.

Power crews from the northwest are coming to Hampton Roads to help restore service in Suffolk Chesapeake and Williamsburg, according to Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Harris.

Several schools in those cities also were without power this morning. In Norfolk, Lindenwood Elementary, Madison Career Center, Larchmont Elementary and Granby High were included. Thurgood Marshall Elementary in Chesapeake, Linkhorn Park Elementary in Virginia Beach, Booker Elementary in Hampton and Chowan Middle School in Elizabeth City, N.C., also were without service. Some buidlings on the campus of the College of William and Mary also awaiting service.

Winds snapped branches, and toppled some trees, but the worst of the damage from by the storm appeared to have been in the Southeast as the storm headed here. In Newport News, one person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries and five buildings were condemned becasue of damage from falling trees.

The storm, which spawned tornadoes in other states as it moved east, is blamed for two deaths -- one in Georgia and one in Tennessee.

Gusty winds occurred throughout the day Wednesday, which otherwise featured spring-like warmth with highs in the mid-70s. Temperatures had dropped below 60 by 3:20 a.m. today and are expected to continue to slide below 50 through the day.

The chance for rain is expected to continue this morning, but skies should gradually clear.

Pilot writers Lauren King and Mike Connors and The Associated Press contributed to this story.


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2013 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)

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