Around 9PM on Friday, June 29, 2012, an extreme weather pattern, similar to a derecho composed of dangerous winds and thunderstorms, began its approach towards Charlottesville, VA. Many holiday travelers were likely caught unaware. The storm lasted through the wee hours of the night, leaving many homes, and businesses without power on Saturday morning.
Interstate 64 is now clear, as are many roads in Charlottesville; although evidence of the storm is easily and visibly apparent. While the Lawn at the University of Virginia remains largely unscathed, downed branches and leaves are strewn about. And in some places, the tops of large trees have been snapped off and tossed to the ground due to the force of last night’s winds.
Smaller roads and alley ways also have downed trees and limbs, but the majority of significant damage is small and limited to isolated areas. (That being said, many are without power; but it could have been so much worse.) Cleanup crews and power crews are already out in force, but many in Charlottesville, the Shenandoah Valley, and even into Northern Virginia are without power, as a heat wave continues to pass through the area.
Winds raged through the night anywhere from 50 to 80 mph, according to local weather authorities. Heat indexes forecast for the remainder of the weekend range from the upper 90s to 105 degrees.
Finding an open breakfast café or coffee shop with power and food service, or internet service, proved difficult this Saturday morning. Although power came back on around 7:30AM, some Charlottesville businesses, like Bodo’s Bagels, had signs posted on the door announcing ovens were warming and food service would not be available until 9AM.
Open businesses off U.S. Route 29 were hit and miss. On one corner of the street, the grocery store Whole Foods posted “no power/closing” signs, while next door, Kroger not only had power, but also a customer rush on ice and water. Other consumers made a mad dash for breakfast at the Barracks Road Shopping Center McDonald’s, creating a full house in the store and in the parking lot.
Recorded phone message from Dominion Power suggested in some places, 3 out of 4 households are without power, with websites quoting the number of customers without power in the Shenandoah Valley and Western Piedmont region at 130,000. Estimates of how long power restoration will take are hard to find; a recorded Dominion Power phone message suggested it could take up to 36 hours to restore power.
For more information about state-wide outages see Dominion Power’s outage map or for Charlottesville specific outages, see Shenandoah Valley and Western Piedmont map.
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