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Winter Storn Grayson

Blizzard hits Hampton Roads; freezing temperatures across Va.

By Christopher Wood, Capital News Service

A “bomb cyclone” brought blizzard conditions to Hampton Roads and left frigid temperatures across Virginia on Thursday as it moved up the East Coast.

The storm dumped up to 12 inches of snow in southeastern Virginia localities, forced the closure of the Port of Virginia and cut power to more than 26,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers in the region. Service to all but a few thousand was restored late Thursday, the utility said on its website.

Snowfall amounts ranged from 4 to 8 inches in the Williamsburg area and 2 to 3 inches around Richmond, according to the National Weather Service.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon in advance of the storm that struck a broad swath of eastern, central and Northern Virginia.

As the storm moved up the East Coast it brought blizzard conditions to New England. Boston appeared to record its highest tides in nearly 40 years.

The Virginia Department of Transportation reported that more than 630 roads were affected by storm and urged caution as wind-chill temperatures from zero to 5 below could make pavements dangerously slick. The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for storm-stricken areas.

Motorists were urged to check www.511virginia.org or call 511 before traveling.

Virginia State Police in the Chesapeake and Richmond divisions responded to 356 crashes and 409 disabled vehicles. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management advised caution during the continuing cold weather. Before the storm there were at least three weather-related deaths in Virginia, the agency said.

Citizens in need of assistance were asked to call 211. Those with hearing impairments can call 711 for the Virginia Relay Center and then call 800-230-6977. Out-of-state or videophone users may also dial that number.

Dominion Energy to Restore All Customers by 5:00 p.m. Friday; 90 Percent Customers to be Restored Late Today

♦More than 75 percent of customers impacted by the storm have been restored

90 percent restored by 11:00 p.m. today

Restoration workers from around the state concentrated on hardest-hit areas

RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion Energy Virginia and North Carolina restoration workers and contractors from across the state are out in force today to restore power by 5:00 p.m. Friday to all customers impacted by the high winds and snow impacting customers through Thursday morning, primarily in the eastern part of Virginia and North Carolina.

90 percent of customers impacted by this event will have power restored by 11:00 p.m. tonight. Customers in Virginia Beach and a few customers in Outer Banks, North Carolina where coastal flooding has limited crew accessibility will be restored tomorrow.

As of 4:00 p.m., more than 75 percent of the nearly 90,000 customers impacted across our system have been restored after crews performed repairs at 550 damage locations. Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Norfolk in Virginia and Outer Banks and Elizabeth City in North Carolina were the hardest hit areas.

Crews continue to work around the clock to complete repairs. 

“Being without power during this extreme cold weather can be an exceptional hardship for our customers and we are intensely focused on getting the lights back on as safely and quickly as possible,” said Ed Baine, senior vice president-Distribution, Dominion Energy. “Please stay clear of downed lines which may be partially buried by snow and use extra caution on the slippery roads and to be on the alert for crews working near roadways.” 

Travel by crews has been impacted by ice and snow, but crews are concentrated in the hardest-hit areas to speed restoration.

The highest priority for power restoration is always given to public safety and critical facilities such as hospitals, emergency 911 call centers, and municipal water pumping stations; 90 percent of those have been restored.

We continue to work closely with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, local officials and the Virginia Department of Transportation to ensure an efficient restoration.

If you lost power:

  • Do not rely on your neighbors to report your outage. Contact us from any mobile device and report outages at dom.com/outages or call us at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
  • Additional storm restoration information is available online at https://www.dominionenergy.com/outage-center/report-and-check-outages. Information also is available on the Dominion Energy Facebookpage.
  • When reporting an outage, whether online or via phone, enter a phone number where you can best be reached in case we need more information or to provide an update.
  • Leave a light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • Also, leave a porch light on. This will help our crews patrolling your neighborhood know if your electricity has been restored.

Safety first:

  • Stay at least 30’ away from downed wires and debris—they could be energized and dangerous. Call 1-866-DOM-HELP to report downed wires.
  • If you are using portable or camp-type stoves or lanterns for cooking and lighting, make sure the area is adequately ventilated.
  • Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home, in crawl spaces or in an enclosed space, such as a garage. Exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide and can be deadly, so run your generator outside with proper ventilation. Store the fuel for your generator safely.
  • Do not hook portable generators directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backward onto Dominion Energy’s power lines and endanger lives. Either have a qualified electrician perform the work or plug appliances directly into the generator with the proper-sized extension cords.
  • Visually inspect the area around your electric meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call us at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
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