Charlottesville Continues Storm Cleanup; Hundreds Remain Without Power

By: Jessica Jaglois; Chris Stover; Mark Tenia Email
By: Jessica Jaglois; Chris Stover; Mark Tenia Email

June 25, 2010

The Charlottesville area continues a massive cleanup after a microburst Thursday afternoon left behind a huge amount of damage.

Dominion Virginia Power reported that 571 customers in the Charlottesville area are without power, as of 6:00 p.m. Sunday. They said crews from northern Virginia, Richmond and the Tidewater area have come in to assist in cleanup and power restoration.

A Dominion representative said he expects power to be restored to most people by 10 p.m. Friday night. However, the Charlottesville Fire Department tells CBS19 that they expect isolated pockets in Charlottesville to remain without power until next week.

The storm occurred shortly after 4:30 p.m. Thursday, right before rush hour. In a matter of minutes, trees and power lines littered many roadways, and cars crowded Charlottesville roads since the work day had just let out.

Customers can call the toll-free number, 1-866-DOM-HELP, for further assistance.

The city has set up a hot line for residents with non-life threatening storm concerns. Residents can call 434-979-INFO for those problems. Additionally, city officials have announced a special storm pickup beginning Monday for city residents and businesses. People can put cut tree debris at the side of the roadway, but officials warn the cleanup process could take several weeks.

The storm also affected power at city parks, causing the Parks and Recreation Department to alter its weekend hours.

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June 24, 2010

For many people, the storms came out of nowhere.

"All of a sudden, it just got insane, you know," Charlottesville resident Daniel Kuttner said. "Sideways rain. It was like a sheet of water on the windows."

"We were crying because we just heard this gigantic thump," Charlottesville resident Luna Kuttner said.

Downed power lines and trees shut down many streets throughout the area. City officials warn that just because a power line is down doesn't mean it is safe to touch or clear out of the way. Dominion crews have been throughout the area clearing live wires from the roadways.

Charlottesville Fire Chief Robert Bragg reported approximately 90 calls as of Friday morning for service ranging from down trees on structures, lines down, trees on vehicles, gas leaks and elevator rescues. Bragg said there was one reported minor injury when a tree fell onto a car on Rugby Road.

While some trees landed on cars, others landed on homes. The Kuttners' house suffered minor damage.

"I built the house single-handedly," Daniel Kuttner said. "It took me four years. I always knew it was well constructed and strong, but it got tested last night."

Not all homes were so lucky. Two trees cut through one home, destroying it.

"In 35 years, never had a tree hit us once," Charlottesville resident Robert Shank said.

Shank said he had just woken up from a nap. His wife was in the kitchen.

"And I looked out the window, and I saw a storm going on, and I crossed over into the hallway. About that time, the pull-down attic came down and practically into my face. And then I heard a tremendous crash like an artillery shell landing in the house," Shank said.

A large branch also crushed his wife's car. He said it's all replaceable though, and he's thankful neither he nor his wife got hurt.

For a storm that took only minutes, residents said it could take days or weeks to get their lives back on track.


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