High winds snarl traffic, down trees in Virginia


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Strong winds have caused thousands to lose power, along with multiple traffic crashes and school closings Friday.

According to Dominion Energy, more than 54,000 customers in the Richmond Metro area are without power. Henrico, Richmond City, Chesterfield, New Kent and Hanover have reported the most outages.

More than 3,000 restoration workers have been deployed across the state to assess the damage and repair equipment and downed power lines.

An additional 500 out-of-state restoration workers are expected to be on-site tomorrow. Dominion Energy plans on working around the clock as quickly and safely as possible.

Of the 621,000 customers that lost service, about 233,000 have been restored, according to Dominion Energy.

As of 4:30 p.m. more than 388,000 customers remain without power.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative said more than 40,000 REC members remain without power as high winds continue to pummel REC’s 22 county service territory.

REC cautions that outages may extend beyond the weekend and into next week.

REC officials say 75 linemen from South Carolina and Kentucky will come to Virginia to assist REC’s crew.

Also, REC’s dispatch center and contact center will be staffed 24 hours.

Meteorologist Matt DiNardo says winds will stay extremely strong Friday with gusts potentially reaching 50 to 60 mph.

Strong winds are expected to continue Friday evening and into Saturday.

Several traffic crashes and downed power lines were reported overnight into Friday morning.

The gusty winds also caused downed trees, with two falling into homes. A 6-year old boy has died after a tree fell on his Chesterfield home. A tree also crashed into a Hanover home, trapping four children in their bedroom.

Crews were able to rescue those four children and get them out of the home safely.

VDOT has also restricted truck traffic on Route 30 from crossing the Eltham Bridge over Pamunkey River between New Kent and the Town of West Point due to the sustained high winds.

Passenger vehicles are still permitted to cross the Eltham Bridge.

Pouncey Tract Road was closed for several hours after a power pole caught fire and forced hundreds in Henrico to lose power.

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