Downed trees knock out power, destroy homes in Hanover County

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)– Authorities in Hanover County responded to dozens of emergency calls during the severe thunderstorm Wednesday.

The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said they received 42 weather-related calls for service within a span of 45 minutes. Of those, 33 were traffic calls related to downed trees and power lines.

Recovery is underway at various locations throughout the county.

A section of James Street in Ashland was closed after the storm, with caution tape surrounding a home. Trees and power lines were down in the front and back yard. Debris was left on the road and on the property.

Jim Cox has lived in the home with his family for more than six years.

“By the time it was over, all I could smell was an electrical smell,” Cox said. “It was really quick and scary.”

Cox said the storm came through for only a minute but left a mess on his lawn. Several trees were torn down, including a massive one in his backyard.

He told 8News that he was watering his lawn just after 3:30 p.m. yesterday when the weather turned dark and windy.

“I noticed it was getting dark and I pulled out my phone to look at the radar. I saw this huge orange area north of here moving this way,” Cox said.

Cox said he received a severe thunderstorm warning on his phone Thursday afternoon.

More than 24 hours later, his neighbors still don’t have power. Crews were seen working on the downed power wires Thursday evening.

“I’ve got some batteries, and little lanterns,” Cox said.

The Ashland Police Department and local fire department were able to assist Cox with running an extension cord from a different location to the refrigerator to keep the food cold.

In the meantime, on Ashcake Road, caution tape is blocking off where a tree is now completely uprooted. The tree fell into a family’s fence, partially into their home and into the backyard. Pieces of the white siding are now sticking out. The structure has been declared ‘unsafe for human occupancy or use.’

On Foxburnie Drive in Mechanicsville, a tree fell into a family’s home while they were inside. Fortunately, they were able to make it out safely.

According to Dominion Energy’s outage map, as of 3 p.m. Thursday, 8,439 customers were still without power in the metro Richmond and Tri-Cities areas.

While Dominion power crews are working, the company asks that residents stay at least 30 feet away from any downed wires or equipment.

In Chester, Outside of the wind-damaged home Lelia and Ralph Friend built, the couple counted their blessings after being spared by a tree cracked in two outside their front door.

Ralph said his late mother planted the tree decades ago, describing the find as “bittersweet.”

“[The tree] barely missed my car. Thank you, Lord,” Leila said. “We are very thankful.”

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative crews are also working to restore homes.

“REC crews and contractors continue to make repairs and restore service after severe storms yesterday caused widespread damage. The storms broke more than 40 poles, and crews continue to find additional damage. Today, mutual aid crews joined REC’s forces to clear trees and restore service as quickly and safely as possible. REC expects to restore the majority of outages by this evening, but some smaller outages — especially in the western region — could last longer.”

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

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