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Heavy Winds Wreak Havoc Across Central Virginia

By: Matt Holmes Email
By: Matt Holmes Email

Sunday December 16, 2007

Gary Spry's barbecue restaurant hasn't been open long. Thanks to strong, gusty winds on Sunday, he learned something new about his West Main establishment.

"We just took over about two months ago and (our canopy) was already in place," Spry explains. "We thought it was properly secured. The front parts were, but the back...they didn't secure the back."

Spry and two friends spent much of the evening picking up the canopy after it blew over.

But a downed canopy at Spry's was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to wind damage around the area. A tree that fell Sunday afternoon on Stony Point Road could have been much worse. Fortunately, the woman whose car the tree fell on was able to get out of the vehicle.

"I just came through and the tree just fell on...top of me," said Ilka Waufle. "I'm fine, just...scared [that] it happened."

Charlottesville Fire crews spent much of their day responding to calls for downed power lines.

"Anytime you have large wind gusts like this, it affects the dead branches...especially in the Fall time of the year," explains Battalion Chief Jeff Garrison. "Tree branches are a little bit weaker and...branches break off and fall across the lines."

When branches are falling on power lines, that's when you see power outages. Folks like Mark Brown, who lives off Jefferson Park Avenue, had to spend the night by candlelight.

"It's cold out, and we've got two children here, and trying to get them to bed with candles is a bit of an adventure. Hopefully the power will come back on," he said.

At one point Sunday, Dominion Power reported that 5,000 homes and businesses across the area were without power.

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