Severe Storms Pound Southwest Virginia - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Severe Storms Pound Southwest Virginia

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Oakridge Blvd. in Lynchburg, Courtesy: Tammy Argueta Oakridge Blvd. in Lynchburg, Courtesy: Tammy Argueta
Maiden Lane SW Roanoke Maiden Lane SW Roanoke
Virginia Tech Drillfield, Courtesy: VT Police Dept. Facebook Virginia Tech Drillfield, Courtesy: VT Police Dept. Facebook

A line of severe thunderstorms caused widespread damage and knocked out power to more than 100,000 people across our viewing area on Thursday afternoon.

Appalachian Power's outage website showed about 85,000 power outages due to the storm system as of 10:30 p.m. The hardest hit areas include:

  • Bedford County - 11,496 (44.6% of total customers)
  • Campbell County - 11,467 (65.7% of total customers)
  • Lynchburg - 12,230 (34% of total customers)
  • Roanoke City - 15,341 (30.5% of total customers)
  • Roanoke County - 14,827 (33.53% of total customers)

APCo spokesman Todd Burns says repairs and restoration will take multiple days, as assessment teams must first figure out how much damage there is, and how to prioritize repairs.

"We've seen about 120,000 customers out as a result of this storm," Burns said. "The derecho was about a half million, so it's much more severe. But with that said, we've got a lot of damage in our Virginia territory. This is one of the bigger storms that has hit our Roanoke area in many, many years."

Virginia's largest utility, Dominion Virginia Power, showed more than 5,000 power outages in the viewing area at the height of the storm.  By 10:25 p.m., that number had dropped to 3,255. Appomattox County, Campbell County, Pittsylvania County, and Halifax County were the hardest hit.

Roanoke Regional Airport recorded wind gusts up to 68 miles per hour during the afternoon.

The winds knocked over hundreds of trees and power lines.

ROANOKE

In Roanoke City and County, crews found trees on homes and apartments in the Grandin/Raleigh Court area, and on roads in South Roanoke.

A tree partially collapsed the roof of a home on Maiden Lane in Southwest Roanoke.

On Brandon Avenue, a large tree fell on some major power lines. Before power went out in nearby neighborhoods, Jim Lampie told us, "Just saw a big flash, heard a big crack and that was it.  Heard a big tree fall over. Come outside, and now we've got this big limb system all over the power lines out there."

A stretch of Franklin Road near the City-County line, as well as Festival Townside Plaza Shopping Center lost power.

In downtown Roanoke, tree branches were blown onto cars parked along Church Avenue next to Green Memorial United Methodist Church.

Roanoke Fire-EMS crews responded to 178 calls for downed trees or wires, and 300 total calls for help.

In Roanoke County, the winds blew a tree branch into the windshield of a K-92 Radio van.  Luckily, no one was inside.

On Cotton Hill Road, viewers sent in pictures of a large tree that uprooted and crashed into a home in the 6100 block. We're told the homeowner had to drop her home owner's insurance due to financial difficulty.

SALEM

In Salem, the storms knocked out power to and damaged the Roanoke College campus. The college closed early as a precaution.

Traffic lights along Main Street lost power for a time as well.

The Salem Civic Center complex suffered storm damage. Tents being set up for the Roanoke Valley Horse show were damaged. Two-by-fours were blown into the Salem Memorial Stadium baseball field, damaging fencing and decking.

"I've been here since 1967, I've never seen wind like this," Salem Director of Civic Facilities Carey Harveycutter said. "And it came up very quickly and was gone very quickly."

NRV

In Blacksburg, the Virginia Tech Police Department posted a picture on its Facebook page of a tree down on top of cars along the Drillfield on campus.

Elsewhere in the town, a tree sliced through the home of 84-year-old Russell Cupp. He was inside when the tree fell, and luckily he was not hurt. Cupp said this was not the first time that a tree damaged his home, but it is the worst damage he's had.

BEDFORD COUNTY

Bedford County Fire & Rescue says its main operations center lost power, and workers shifted to the Emergency Operations Center.

Rescue crews also helped a Hardy man. A tree feel onto his home along Shady Run Road, and hurt him. EMTs took the man to Roanoke Memorial Hospital. He's expected to be ok.

Clean-up crews are working to remove trees that are blocking multiple roads in Bedford County.