Storm toll: Falling trees kill two in Albemarle
A man standing on a deck on Decca Lane in the Ivy area of Western Albemarle and woman walking along U.S. 20 near Scottsville were killed by falling trees in the super storm that rolled havoc across Virginia late Friday night.
Albemarle Police are withholding identification of the victims pending notification of next of kin but plan to release the names Saturday, according to County spokesperson Lee Catlin, who confirmed the deaths in an early-morning release noting that approximately 30,000 local residents were without power at 3am.
Catlin notes that with many damaged and powerless houses, some of them burned, an emergency shelter has been opened at Burnley-Moran Elementary School. That's the school on the U.S. 250 Bypass between Locust Avenue and Free Bridge. Kathy Ralston, the director Albemarle County Department of Social Services, reports before 8am Saturday that the shelter has opened.
In the City, Fire Chief Charles Werner reports that two houses experienced significant damage including a house on Shamrock Road whose roof was deeply knifed by a tree. Werner supplied the photograph of that incident.
The two fatalities make Albemarle one of the deadliest places in the state. Only Springfield, where trees killed a male motorist and a 90-year-old woman in her home, had as many deaths.
The type of windstorm that struck the state has been called a derecho. A Spanish word literally meaning "straight," a derecho in weather parlance refers to a windstorm blowing from the front of a rapidly-advancing storm line.
Cleanup may not be pleasant, with the National Weather Service predicting that Saturday's temperatures may be even hotter than Friday's triple digits, a predicted Saturday high of 103. And Werner, who notes that the Charlottesvile Fire Department moved over 20 limbs from roadways, notes ominously that another lines of storms is expected Saturday night.
Update 2pm: Albemarle County Police have identified the victims as John Porter, 64, of Decca Lane, who was pronounced dead on the scene, and Catherine Ford, who got out of her car to get phone service on Scottsville Road when a tree fell on her. Ford, too, was pronounced dead at the scene. (Also corrects earlier erroneous report of the Scottsville death as having occurred on U.S. 29.)
Later Saturday update: City chief Werner notes that the governor has declared statewide state of emergency amid the largest known power outage in Virginia history with 6 reported deaths and 2.5 million in state without power. He notes that 10 major transmission lines across the state are down and that power out for 10,610 out of 23,688 Dominion Virginia Power customers in Charlottesville and 28,494 out of 40,571 customers in Albemarle. It could be several days before your power is restored.Read more on: storm