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FLOODING AND Storm Update: DOWNED TREES IMPACTING TRAVEL THROUGHOUT SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA TODAY

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Update from Appalachian, SEC

SALEM – The gusty winds and heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Michael yesterday created flooded roads, downed trees and power lines in western Virginia. As of 11 a.m., approximately 140 roads are closed or affected in the 12 counties of VDOT’s Salem District.  

 

Crews are currently clearing debris and assessing roads throughout the region, coordinating with emergency and utility crews and making or scheduling repairs where possible. In some areas, water will need to recede before a road can be investigated or repaired. Their focus today will be to make roads safe and passable for traffic. If extensive repairs are needed, they will be coordinated and scheduled at a later date.

 

Drivers are encouraged to continue to monitor road conditions in your area prior to traveling.  

The most up-to-date information about flooded roads is available at www.511Virginia.org. For information on specific roads, citizens can access the Road Table under the text views section of the site. 

To report downed trees or debris on state maintained roads, citizens can contact VDOT’s customer service center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD. 

 

Drivers who are traveling today are reminded of the following:

 

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
  • Never drive around barricades. Remember, the road has been closed for your safety.
  • Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas.
  • Be alert for tree limbs and other debris in the roadway. Even small branches and other debris can damage a car or cause the driver to lose control.
  • If you come across a downed power line, do not try to move it. Contact your local authorities.

For updates throughout the day, follow us on Twitter at @VaDOTSalem and @511southwestva for the latest updates on road conditions.

 

 

Appalachian Power Storm Response Update

Friday, October 12, 2018 – 10:15 a.m.

 

Situation

On Thursday, the remnants of Tropical Storm Michael left more than 25,000 Appalachian Power customers without power in southwest and southside Virginia. Flash flooding and high wind gusts of up to 50 MPH in some locations made damage assessment difficult, as well as hazardous in some parts. Areas where most customers are without power include: Bedford, Carroll, Franklin, Henry, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Roanoke counties.

 

The damage is most severe in Henry and Patrick counties where transmission and distribution stations, which affect a large number of customers, were impacted by the storm.

 

With weather improving today and additional workers heading to the affected areas, both assessment and restoration efforts are expected to proceed well. 

 

Appalachian Power hydro operations crews continue to monitor and manage the high water flows affecting plants and dams on the New and Roanoke rivers. Claytor and Smith Mountain reservoirs are slightly above full pond levels.

 

Outages

More than 25,000 customers are currently without power in Virginia. Areas in the state with large numbers of customers affected by the storms include:

 

Counties

# of Customers Out

Henry

6,624

Patrick

4,679

Franklin

2,836

Bedford

2,504

Carroll

2,367

Pittsylvania

1,076

Roanoke

1,019

 

Storm Response Efforts

More than 500 workers are expected to take part in restoration efforts. Appalachian Power has moved company and contract line workers from West Virginia and Tennessee to assist local crews with damage assessment and service restoration. The company has also secured some additional help from Kentucky Power and AEP Ohio.

 

Restoration Estimates

In the Henry and Patrick counties, restoration should be complete by 10 p.m. Sunday.

 

In Bedford, Franklin, Lynchburg (city) and Roanoke counties, restoration should be complete by noon Sunday.

 

In Carroll and Montgomery counties, restoration should be complete by 10 p.m. Saturday.

 

The rest of the affected areas should see power service returned by early Saturday.   

 

A vast majority of customers will see their power restored well before these estimated times. As outages are cleared, crews will move into more heavily damaged areas to assist in restoration.

 

Weather

Today’s weather should be clear and breezy, which will help in power restoration efforts.

Outage-specific Restoration Information

Expected restoration times are different for each place where a repair needs made. Customers are urged to get information on the specific outage that affects their service by viewing the outage map at www.appalachianpower.com, or by signing up at www.appalachianpower.com/alerts to receive automatic updates on outages that affect their service.  

Safety Message

If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.

Additional safety tips are posted at https://www.appalachianpower.com/outages/faq/OutageSafetyTips.aspx.

 

SEC service territory heavily impacted by Hurricane Michael
CREWE, Va – On the evening of Thursday, October 11, remnants of Hurricane Michael moved through the majority of the counties served by Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC), bringing extremely high winds, heavy rains and flooding -- leaving devastation in its wake.
As of 9 AM, approximately 31,000 SEC members are without power. At the storm’s peak, over 40,000 members were impacted, making this the Cooperative’s most significant outage event since Hurricane Irene in 2011 (with 26,000 outages).
As a result of the number of downed trees and broken poles, the outage restoration process is expected to take several days. Due to the extent of the damage, SEC encourages members to prepare for several days without electricity.
Co-op crews from neighboring states will arrive Friday to assist SEC with the extensive restoration process.
At this time, SEC is not able to offer estimated times of restoration until all damages have been assessed. Crews are likely to discover additional broken poles and downed wire during the assessment.
As always, please stay away from any downed power lines and equipment. Treat all damaged electrical infrastructure as if it is energized.
To report outages, please call: 1-866-878-5514. Due to extremely high call volume and damaged phone lines near SEC headquarters office, this number may take multiple attempts to reach the system. An alternate number is available at (434) 309-2700. Another option for outage reporting is through SEC’s TextPower service. Members who are enrolled can text #out to 866-878-5514. If you are unable to report your outage, rest assured that SEC has alternate methods to identify accounts without power. SEC has begun making repairs and restoring outages, starting with the transmission lines that feed substations. Once those are repaired, crews will move to substations, main feeders, tap lines and services. During this restoration process, individual outages will be identified using an advanced meter infrastructure.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is finalizing preparations ahead of effects from Tropical Storm Michael, and crews stand ready to respond to any unsafe travel conditions or damage resulting from the storm. With heavy rain and wind gusts forecasted to begin in parts of the Commonwealth early Thursday afternoon, travelers are encouraged to plan ahead for changing road conditions, and adjust travel, as needed. The storm could cause downed trees, debris in roadways and high water.

 

Ahead of the storm, crews have been clearing drainage facilities, preparing trucks and equipment and coordinating for additional debris and tree removal crews to be on standby.

 

Travel tips

 

  • If a traffic signal is out, drivers are advised to treat the intersection as a four way stop.
  • Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
  • Never drive around barricades. Remember, the road has been closed for your safety.
  • Slow down when driving through standing water. Driving too fast through water could cause you to lose control and hydroplane.
  • Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas. Water in those areas can rise quickly and without warning during heavy rains.
  • In the event of a flash flood warning for your area, seek high ground immediately.
  • Watch for debris on the roadway. If you encounter a downed power line, do not try to move the line. Downed trees may contain power lines. Contact VDOT or Dominion Virginia Power.
  • If involved in a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

 

Information resources

 

  • Get the latest road conditions - call 511, go to www.511virginia.org or download the mobile app at the 511 web site.
  • Report downed trees, hazardous road conditions or talk to a customer service representative – call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).
  • Prepare for the storm and find out about other VDOT storm preparedness efforts – visit www.VirginiaDOT.org.
  • Traffic information is also available on Twitter @511statewideVA. For general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT.
  • VDOT’s Facebook page will also be updated throughout the storm. https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaDOT