6% of Dominion's Albemarle customers w/o power, more snow coming! (4:24pm Monday update)
4:24pm Monday update: Dominion has reduced its number of Albemarle powerless by nearly 1,000 since our last count to bring the total to just 2,355. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service points out that there's a "higher than normal" uncertainty in the weather models, so there's actually a chance this area will get little or no snow during tomorrow's event. What's more certain, however, are the aforementioned high winds.
4:10pm Monday update: More snow video. Nothing dramatically newsworthy here. Previous snow videos.
12:16pm Monday update: According to this nifty interactive map (which most unpowered households can't possibly see), 3,259 of Dominion's 39,262 Albemarle customers remain without power at this moment. That's 8 percent of the company's County electric buyers.
8:35am Monday update: The map doesn't lie. Snowfall of greater than five inches is possible in the Charlottesville area, says Kevin Witt, a meteorologist in the Sterling, Virginia weather station. Witt says we can expect sustained winds of 25 mph with gusts up to 30 mph in addition to the snow, which is expected to start mid-morning Tuesday. Unlike the last storm, fortunately, this one isn't expected to peak in strength until it's well off the coast. Still, Witt predicts "a travel mess" and possible further power outages, particularly with strong winds after the snow ends. Sigh...
6:43am Monday update: Well, just when you thought it was safe to get back to normalcy... another snow storm appears likely to dump 3-6 inches here on Tuesday afternoon or evening. Check out this National Weather Service map, which indicates that although the sweet spots–- shown in red–- lie north of us, we are clearly in the projected snow zone. (And many of us still don't have power.)
6:22pm Sunday updates: Albemarle County has already called it: NO SCHOOL TOMORROW. Also, emergency officials are asking drivers who are available on Monday to call 979-9912 to volunteer their services. (The 979-INFO line will close tonight at 9 o'clock and will reopen tomorrow at 6am for a period of time yet to be determined.)
6:10pm Sunday update: According to WINA 11,700 Dominion customers in our area are still out, and 9,000 Central Virginia customers, for a total about 20,000 customers locally in the dark. At the peak, there were 35,000 places without power. That's an enormous proportion of local customers and may constitute a record. This large an outage–- particularly when there are many small outages within subdivisions–- will not be cured overnight.
1:02pm Sunday update: Dominion Virginia Power says its crews are working overtime to get power back to the thousands without it. Meanwhile, County spokesperson Lee Catlin says that 16 people and three dogs spent at least some portion of last night at the emergency shelter at Monticello High School.
7:22am Sunday update: Looks like more bad news for the power-less, as the numbers of electricity-deprived household skyrocket.
While the heart of the storm steered north of us, as the AccuWeather depth totals indicate, we got the heavy snow and ice that brings limbs down on power lines.
For those of us without power, we're not alone. Dan Genest of Dominion Virginia Power delivered some staggering numbers Saturday night on WINA 1070 AM radio: that 15,000 of his company's customers and another 10,000 customers of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative are without power.
Already, we're hearing that with the deep snow and with some key roads–- such as Route 53, closed in portions–- that reconnecting all that power will take several days.
So whaddya do if your power's out? For starters, put your perishable food outside or in a cool space like a garage where nature can refrigerate it for you. Next, be extremely careful with your candles. It's times like this when horrific fires can occur because folks make mistakes with space heaters or candles.
How about cooking? If you don't have one of those Coleman camping stoves, you may still be in luck if you have a gas grill. Dust the snow off that bad boy, and cook up some of that old junk in your pantry before it fossilizes.
How about firewood for heat? At this point, many firewood providers may be snowbound or inaccessible. So if you have firewood to sell, or if you know of someone who does, you might wanna post their phone number below as a comment.
If your larder is really low, you may just wanna bolt from town to stay with folks in another place. The good news on that front is that many places to the south of us didn't get a lot of snow. Moreover, most of Charlottesville's primary roads are black asphalt and running smoothly–- even if you're running out of town. The bad news, however, may be your own driveway.
[youtube width="320"]xx5TyLEVRjU[/youtube]There are a lot of people really stuck right now, so if anyone else has some other tips that don't require 20/20 hindsight, feel free to offer them below in the comment zone. (The Hook has to conserve battery power, so we may not update this again until morning.)
Oh, one more thing. Half of the roof at 84 Lumber on Route 29 near Airport Road collapsed under the weight of the snow Saturday, according to County spokesperson Lee Catlin. Fortunately, nobody was there; so nobody was injured.
NBC29 has a nice little compendium of what's not working–- e.g. trains and transit–- right now.
Original post: As the snow gets heavier, Emergency Services reports a significant number of calls of downed trees, according to a Friday afternoon release from Albemarle County spokesperson Lee Catlin. Chainsaw-owing citizens willing to help out are asked to call the 979-INFO line. And the county advises that anyone venturing out should be packing a chainsaw.
some previous headlines:
"Trees down, chainsaws (and fuel) needed"
"Ginormous number of Dominion's Albemarle customers w/o power, more snow coming! (8:35am Monday update)"
"6% of Dominion's Albemarle customers without power