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Virginia has become the latest state to feel the wrath of now post-tropical cyclone Michael. Its attack on the Old Dominion began Thursday night and has continued on into Friday.
The storm is saturating Virginia with heavy rains and causing chaos due to strong winds. This has caused flooding and power outages. There are reports of tornadoes in parts of the state.
Virginia authorities say that five have died due to the storm. Four were swept away in floodwaters on roads and one, who was a firefighter, was killed when the fire truck in which he was riding collided with a tractor-trailer.
Virginia State Police have encountered 300 crashes, blocked roads and high water. Rescue teams saved three firefighters in Pittsylvania when their boat overturned and police rescued a man who was being swept away in flash floods.
As of 8 a.m. Friday, more than 559,000 Virginians have lost power. The total includes 443,000 Dominion Energy customers and 47,856 customers who lost power in Virginia Beach, the state’s most populous city. More than 200,000 are without power in Hampton Roads.
Northern Virginia was not hit as hard as other areas of the state. Yet, there are 2,801 in Fairfax County and 1,656 people in Stafford County without power. Power outages in the hundreds were reported in other counties around the state.
According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, there have been five suspected tornadoes. Radar confirmed that a tornado swept through Amelia County Thursday evening. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a possible tornado blew a roof off of a building in James City County.
The storm caused the National Weather Service to issue a wind advisory through 11 a.m. Friday in the Washington, D.C. area. It is expected that the wind would reach speeds of 20 to 30 mph. and gusts of up to 50 mph.
Southwest Virginia, including Roanoke and Salem, were pounded with torrential rains and flooding Thursday.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management tweeted at 7 a.m. on Friday that there are five confirmed dead due to Michael, 520,000 people without power, 1,200 closed roads, and five possible tornadoes throughout the state.
Areas in the region of Hampton Roads that have experienced outages include:
- 24,905 in Hampton
- 1,712 in Isle of Wight County
- 18,602 in James City County
- 29,235 in Newport News
- 4,279 in Poquoson
- 2,164 in Williamsburg
- 15,709 in York County
A spokesperson for Dominion Energy tweeted that 120 schools in Hampton Roads are without power as of Friday morning. She added that residents should expect a “multi-day” effort to restore power in the region.
Meanwhile, in Florida the death toll was reported to be at least six as of Thursday, but it was expected that the number would rise as crews searched debris or struggled to gain access to certain areas.
The total number of people from Florida to Virginia who are experiencing power outages was set at about 1-1/2 million on Thursday night.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is expected to move off the Atlantic Coast, but continue to be dangerous deep into Friday with tropical storm-forced winds whipping up as far as 275 miles from its center.
A Report from the American Meteorological Society forecasts that dangerous storms like Michael and Harvey, which devastated Texas in August, 2017, will occur more often as a result of global warming. The study asserts that the frequency could rise from one such storm every 100 years to one every 5 to 10 years.
It is best to prepare before the storms are upon us and one way to do it is to purchase a stand-alone generator. These machines are a lifesaver when power outages occur as a result of a hurricane or some other natural disaster. They assure that electrical appliances will continue to operate under the worst conditions. The latest models include features like Wi-Fi that allow you to control them from with a smartphone from any location on earth.
A stand-alone generator will pay for itself and more.
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