Tropical Storm Michael leaves mark

Published 9:44 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tropical Storm Michael’s effects in Lunenburg can be felt nearly a week after the storm’s high winds, torrential rainfall and flooding caught thousands by surprise and created widespread outages and road closures for thousands more.

The heavy rainfall resulted in several inches of water entering the Victoria Fire & Rescue building, according to Victoria Town Manager Rodney Newton.

“The personnel at the station that day did an excellent job in protecting department assets and removing the water expeditiously,” Newton said in an email Monday. “There were no injuries to personnel and no equipment was damaged.”

Victoria Police Department, during the worst of the storm Thursday, issued a mandatory curfew to urge residents to stay in their homes. The curfew was lifted Friday afternoon.

The town celebrated the Autumn’s Day Festival and Truck & Tractor Pull on schedule Saturday.

The Kenbridge Fire Department also celebrated its annual Open House on schedule Sunday.

While Dominion Energy, on its outage map, did not indicate power outages for Lunenburg County Tuesday, Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC)’s outage map indicated that approximately 1,007 Lunenburg customers remain without power as of Tuesday morning.

SEC and Dominion cited that the outages caused by several dozens broken or fallen power lines have been notable and record-making.

SEC cited that at the peak of the tropical storm’s impact in the region, 40,000 of the company’s service members were impacted, which amounts to roughly 70 percent of SEC’s system.

“Hurricane Michael created devastation across the majority of our service territory,” Jeff Edwards, SEC’s president and CEO said in a news release. “Hundreds of fallen trees created miles of downed power lines to repair along with approximately 100 broken poles. This is the worst damage I have seen in my 33-year career, with the exception of hurricanes Hugo and Isabel.”

Dominion said there were more than 600,000 customers around the state who experienced outages, amounting to the sixth largest outage in the company’s history.

SEC cited that crew members have discovered nearly 100 broken poles, hundreds of fallen trees and miles of downed power lines in the area.

Lunenburg County Public Schools had an early dismissal Thursday, and closed Friday, Monday and Tuesday after roadways sustained heavy damage and flooding from the storm.

The Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors canceled its meeting originally set for Oct. 11, including the work session between the Town of Victoria and the Town of Kenbridge to work on the county’s comprehensive plan, due to concerns about travel in the weather conditions.

Over the weekend and into this week, several public entities and businesses in the region have provided food, shelter, showers, charging stations for electrical devices and a sense of community for those experiencing isolation and the effects of power outages at their homes.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reported that as of Tuesday morning roughly a dozen secondary roads in Lunenburg County are closed, have advisories or are passable with care due to washouts, flooding and other weather-related causes.