Power outages, “catastrophic” damage after the Northern Va storms

Thousands of electric customers across Northern Virginia are waking up without electricity after severe storms hit the region.

The Rappahannock Electric Cooperative said the storm broke seven poles in a row along part of or Route 22 in Warrenton, Virginia. (Courtesy of the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative)

Courtesy of the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

The Rappahannock Electric Cooperative said the damage was extensive in the Devils Three Jump Road area in Caroline County, Virginia. (Courtesy of the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative)

Courtesy of the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

Yellow police tape in front of the courthouse in Warrenton, Virginia after Wednesday’s storms. (WTOP / Neal Augenstein)

WTOP / Neal Augenstein

Broken tree branch on the building

Heavy storms on Wednesday devastated parts of the DC area, most notably Warrenton in Fauquier County, Virginia, where hundreds of fallen trees and branches caused structural damage, power outages and blocked roads. (Courtesy of Brandie Schaeffer)

Courtesy of Brandie Schaeffer

Yellow police tape in front of downed trees near courthouse in Warrenton, Virginia after Wednesday’s storms. (WTOP / Neal Augenstein)

WTOP / Neal Augenstein

Trees down in front of the houses

Storm-felled trees in front of homes in Warrenton, Virginia. (WTOP / Neal Augenstein)

WTOP / Neal Augenstein

Heavy storms on Wednesday devastated parts of the DMV, most notably Warrenton, in Fauquier County, Virginia, where hundreds of fallen trees and branches caused structural damage, power outages and blocked roads. (Courtesy of Brandie Schaeffer)

Courtesy of Brandie Schaeffer

Heavy storms on Wednesday devastated parts of the Washington region, most notably Warrenton, in Fauquier County, Virginia, where hundreds of fallen trees and branches caused structural damage, power outages and blocked roads. (Courtesy of Brandie Schaeffer)

Courtesy of Brandie Schaeffer

Heavy storms on Wednesday devastated parts of the Washington region, most notably Warrenton, in Fauquier County, Virginia, where hundreds of fallen trees and branches caused structural damage, power outages and blocked roads. (Courtesy of Brandie Schaeffer)

Courtesy of Brandie Schaeffer

Thousands of people across Northern Virginia are waking up without electricity, and in many cases, debris has to be swept away after storms struck powerful punches Wednesday.


Key updates:


In Fauquier County, a spokesman for the power company said the damage to the power lines was “catastrophic” and that it could take several days to restore power to all customers.

Overall, severe storms have cut off electricity for more than 25,000 homes and businesses in Northern Virginia, according to Dominion Energy.

Dominion said about 9,000 customers were without electricity in Fauquier County, more than 2,500 customers in Fredericksburg and about 1,600 in Loudoun County.



According to Dominion, substantial outages included about 300 customers in Alexandria, about 168 across Fairfax County and about 100 in Falls Church, plus other outages in Arlington, Fairfax City, Spotsylvania, and Stafford.

More than 2,700 customers were clueless in Culpeper County and about 1,600 customers were without electricity in Fauquier County, the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative said.

NOVEC reported fewer outages in Fauquier and Loudoun counties.

‘Big event’

Fauquier County Public Schools have canceled all summer classes and activities for Thursday due to widespread outages.

Dominion Energy spokeswoman Peggy Fox said the damage in Fauquier County was “catastrophic” and “widespread in some areas.”

“This is a great event; six broken poles, 20 broken cross arms. That’s a lot of damage. ”Fox said there are 141 different areas that have suffered“ severe damage ”where crews are working, he told her.

Dominion Energy crews worked overnight and continue to do so, according to Fox.

“We were able to reduce those disruptions and bring some people back. But going out, we find even more damage. So, it will take a while. “

Fox said Dominion crews “will work around the clock until we get every single customer back, but acknowledged that” it will take several days “before everyone’s power can be restored.

The hardest hit in the area so far has been the town of Warrenton in Fauquier County, where hundreds of fallen trees and branches have fallen on homes, causing structural damage and blocking roads along Interstate 66.

Brandie Schaeffer, manager of the city of Warrenton, told WTOP that Wednesday’s rapid storms swept through the city, leaving unpredictable power outages behind.

According to Schaeffer, the hospital there, which switched to generator power, was regularly restored by 1am.

He told WTOP that courts are closed Thursday, businesses located on Main Street can reopen if they have electricity, and historic buildings may need inspections.

‘Tornado-like damage’

The Rappahannock Electric Cooperative said crews and contractors are responding to “approximately 180 separate” storm-related outage events, impacting “more than 11,000 owner-members.”

“The crews continue to discover broken poles and downed cables, as well as numerous large felled trees. Crews in the eastern portion of REC service territory described “tornado damage” and in the Route 211 area near Warrenton the storm broke seven poles in a row, “according to the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative press release.

Alexandra Lohr, who lives off Route 211, about four miles from Warrenton near Shenandoah National Park, said, “There were trees underneath that were like 6-foot walls on our road going both ways. You couldn’t get out of the way. “

He added: “Trees as old as oaks and cedars from the Civil War era had been uprooted and fallen on the road. There was no way in or out. Fortunately, one of my neighbors had an excavator and was able to clear the trees pretty quickly. “

He said his house runs out of electricity.

Despite all the damage caused, the National Weather Service told WTOP that it does not plan to send crews to assess the damage in Warrenton and Fauquier counties.

In Stafford County, Twitter user Jason Nealis shared some of the damage left after the swift passing storms on Wednesday afternoon.

The storms also disappointed rock fans, who were asked to take cover inside the Nationals Park atrium when the storms hit. The Stadium Tour concert, featuring Motley Crue and Def Leppard, was suspended due to bad weather in the areastadium officials said. The concert resumed after a delay of over 90 minutes.

Motley Crue and Def Leppard fans try to stay dry in the Nationals Park atrium after storms in the region caused their concert to be delayed. (Courtesy of Brendan O’Connell)

Forecast:

Even though the risk of severe thunderstorms has ended, Storm Team4’s Chuck Bell said you’ll still need the umbrella on Thursday.

“Most of the chance of rain on Thursday is in the morning and the rain could be several inches in places, so flash floods will remain a concern,” said Storm Team4’s Chuck Bell.

“The low pressure that the storms brought to us is receding, but there is still enough instability in the atmosphere to provide some rainier times during the day,” Bell said.

THURSDAY: Rain and drizzle, ending west to east this afternoon. Become less humid. Highs between the low and mid-70s.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partial clearing. Areas of fog that develop after midnight. Lows between the mid-50s and the lower 60s.
FRIDAY: Getting mostly sunny and warmer. Highs between the low and mid-1980s.
SATURDAY: Mostly sunny and more humid. Highs between the mid 80s and the lower 90s.
SUNDAY: Becoming partly cloudy, hot and humid. Possibility of a thunderstorm at sunset. Highs between the upper 80s and the lower 90s.
MONDAY: Showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s.


Current conditions:


Power outages:

Neal Augenstein, Joshua Barlow, Alexander, Abigail Constantino, Dick Uliano, Juan Herrera and Kristi King of the WTOP contributed to this report.