Michael kills 5, leaves thou­sands with­out power in Vir­ginia

Lodi News-Sentinel - - NATION - By Robyn Sider­sky

NOR­FOLK, Va. — More than 214,000 Do­min­ion En­ergy cus­tomers woke with­out power in Hamp­ton Roads on Fri­day morn­ing, af­ter Trop­i­cal Storm Michael swept through overnight, ac­cord­ing to the en­ergy com­pany’s web­site.

That in­cludes more than 120 schools, ac­cord­ing to a tweet from Do­min­ion. All schools in Nor­folk, Vir­ginia Beach, Ch­e­sa­peake and Portsmouth are closed.

Else­where in Vir­ginia the storm took a worse toll, killing five peo­ple in the state and drop­ping five sus­pected tor­na­does.

The fa­tal­i­ties in­cluded two peo­ple in the Rich­mond re­gion – one from a car crash and one in a drown­ing – and three drown­ings in the western part of the state, ac­cord­ing to the Vir­ginia De­part­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment. Of­fi­cials be­lieve tor­na­does touched down in Glouces­ter, James City/New Kent, Hal­i­fax, Pitt­syl­va­nia and Amelia.

“We were blessed yet again,” said Jim Redick, Nor­folk’s direc­tor of emer­gency pre­pared­ness and re­sponse.

In Hamp­ton Roads, the power out­ages in­clude more than 51,000 cus­tomers in Vir­ginia Beach, plus 33,000 in Nor­folk, 19,000 in Ch­e­sa­peake, 10,000 in Portsmouth and about 5,000 in Suf­folk. The Penin­sula is also with­out power: about 27,000 cus­tomers in Hamp­ton, 17,000 in James City County, 29,000 in New­port News, 2,000 in Wil­liams­burg and 15,000 in York.

“We want peo­ple to be pre­pared for multi-day out­ages,” said Do­min­ion spokes­woman Bonita Billings­ley Har­ris. She said the out­ages are mostly due to downed trees and tree limbs. Crews are re­spond­ing to emer­gency calls and crit­i­cal needs first.

Sus­tained winds Thurs­day night reached 37 miles per hour with gusts up to 67 miles per hour, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice. A high wind warn­ing re­mains in ef­fect for south­east Vir­ginia, North Carolina and the East­ern Shore.

In Glouces­ter County, of­fi­cials be­lieve that a tor­nado may have struck the Guinea sec­tion Thurs­day evening as the storm moved into the area. The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice is­sued a tor­nado warn­ing for the area around 7:20 p.m. Shortly af­ter, wit­nesses re­ported hear­ing loud, roar­ing noises con­sis­tent with a tor­nado, ac­cord­ing to Glouces­ter emer­gency man­age­ment co­or­di­na­tor Brett Ma­jor. A num­ber of trees and tele­phone poles were snapped in high winds.

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