Winter Storm Update: When will the lights come back on?

VICTORIA – “Please prepare your home for a hard overnight freeze”. That was the statement Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) officials released just before 10 p.m. Friday, warning residents across the region to take precautions as we continue to feel the effects of Winter Storm Elliott. 

And they weren’t wrong. By 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve, the temperature dropped to 7 degrees in Victoria, with a feel of -4 thanks to the wind. That wind, gusting on Friday to 50 mph at times, knocked down trees, pushed over power lines and even took down the Farmville Christmas tree, a couple counties over. And that was no easy task, considering it had been secured with guy wires. 

But while the tree can be put back up, cleaning up from the rest of the damage will take a bit longer. SEC officials say that as of 2 a.m., 5,418 homes remain without power in their coverage area. Here in Lunenburg County, there’s still 192 people without power, with 230 still out in Charlotte County and 124 in Nottoway. 

SEC officials cautioned that due to the nature of the damage, and the fact wind gusts were still hitting 30-40 mph in the early hours of Saturday, they couldn’t say when all customers would get their lights back on. 

“Estimated restoration times are still unavailable, due to the widespread outages,” SEC officials said in their latest statement. “We are restoring outages with each hour that passes, but some of our members will still be without power going into [Saturday].” 

SEC had 21 crews still working overnight, with power restored to 11,059 homes so far. 

Winter Storm Elliott to stick around? 

Even after the wind dies down, that doesn’t mean Winter Storm Elliott will be leaving. The National Weather Service out of Blacksburg says we’ll keep feeling the storm’s effects into Sunday at least. 

But the biggest concern is Saturday tonight, when temperatures are expected to drop to 5 degrees. National Weather Service officials advise people to limit their time outside tonight. And if you do have to go out, wear winter clothing and gloves.