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UPDATED: Thousands in Central Virginia remain without power Tuesday night

UPDATED: 7:00 p.m.

Around 2,700 Dominion Energy customer in Charlottesville and 17,700 in Albemarle County remained without power Tuesday evening amid snowfall and freezing.

Dominion Energy has struggled to restore power to residents of Central Virginia after a mixture of rain and snowfall created hazardous conditions for much of the region.

Despite the high numbers out in the Charlottesville area the vast majority of customers in the counties of Buckingham, Fluvanna and Louisa were without power Tuesday evening, as, according to Dominion, the region had "been particularly impacted by this historic event where damage is the most severe and road conditions are treacherous."

According to Dominion’s outage map, many of the affected areas are expected to receive power again by the 11 p.m. Tuesday.

According to a news release from the city of Charlottesville, the Public Works day team was able to make significant progress towards improving road conditions and clearing right-of-way issues Tuesday.

Another full team will resume work at 7 a.m. Wednesday and work to clear intersections and provide additional removal for remaining secondary routes.

A modified night team will operate Tuesday and actively work on clearing remaining snow issues and responding to any refreezing concerns, according to the release. Bridges, overpasses and ramps will be a priority.

"We appreciate our public works team working diligently to make our streets safe!" the release reads.

UPDATED: 4:20 p.m.

Dominion Energy is urging patience as its employees work to restore power to more than 100,000 people across the state.

According to an outage map, the majority of those without power are within Central Virginia, including 20,000 in Albemarle County and 4,000 in Charlottesville as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.

In a Facebook post, Dominion acknowledged the "hundreds of messages from customers sharing anger and frustration, questioning when there will be an update on when their power will be restored."

To provide updated restoration times, Dominion’s patrollers must be able to reach worksites and assess damage, the post reads.

"Our crews are working as quickly as they can to safety navigate icy roadways, road closures, downed trees and tree limbs," the post reads. "In some localities the damage is so severe that some areas are not even accessible by foot, in those cases we are using drones to assess."

More crews from across the country and more than 800 mutual aid contractors will be joining Dominion to assist with restoration efforts and, in total, Dominion said it has restored power to restored service to 72% of the 400,000 customers affected.

"We know that you are tired and cold, and it is extremely difficult to be without power during this time," the post reads.

Outages can be reported and checked here >> dominionenergy.com/outages

Del. Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville, also provided updates for constituents, detailing the situation in a series of tweets Tuesday afternoon.

"Crew are focused today on mainline circuits — the grid’s major arteries," Hudson wrote. "They aim to have that work completed by 9 pm tonight. Most of the work in Charlottesville-Albemarle will be done tomorrow (Wednesday)."

According to Hudson, if residents don’t see an estimated time of return (ETR) posted yet, they should plan for the strong chance that their ETR won’t be posted until Wednesday morning and power may not be restored until Wednesday or Thursday.

"Remember that our power grid is like our roadways, with interstates, highways, local roads, & little spurs. Progress on big parts can put thousands back on line," Hudson wrote. "Further out progress comes in slower, smaller parts. Contractors from 7 states are pitching in, so lots of [workers are] on it."

UPDATED: 3:30 p.m.

With power out and temperatures expected to fall below freezing for the second-straight night, several communities are opening shelters and stations for residents to warm themselves and recharge their phones and devices.

The warming station at the Stanardsville Volunteer Fire Company will now be an overnight shelter, officials announced this afternoon. Cots and blankets will be provided from the American Red Cross and snacks, water and Gatorade will also be provided.

Those seeking shelter should leave pets at home and bring necessary medications and additional blankets and pillows and food, if they want. A microwave will be available.

Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided and residents may charge electronics, stop by for food and fill water containers.

For transportation to the shelter, contact (540) 219-3534

Madison County opened a shelter today at the Madison Firehouse, in Madison, citing nearly half of its population being without power.

“The County currently has approximately 48% of its citizens without power,” officials said in the shelter announcement. “Should you leave your residence, please ensure all heating sources and cooking appliances are turned off. Please use caution with generators.”

Louisa County opened a shelter at the Holly Grove Fire Department. Orange County has opened shelters at Locust Grove Elementary School, Prospect Heights Middle School and the Gordonsville Volunteer Fire Company.

The University of Virginia opened Newcomb Hall until 5 p.m. and Clemons Library until 6 p.m. for people to use to get warm and charge devices Tuesday.

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UPDATED: 12:15 p.m.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative officials say mutual-aid electric workers from Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, Georgia, Florida and other states are arriving to help the utility restore power in Greene, Madison, Orange and Louisa counties.

But officials say there may more days of dark and cold for customers before all have their power back online.

“Crews and contractors continue to assess damage, make repairs and restore service after [an historic winter storm] toppled trees, downed power lines and damaged electric equipment,” said Casey Hollins, the utility’s managing director for communications and public relations. “This multi-day restoration effort will be especially difficult due to the expected below-freezing temperatures over the coming nights, and [the utility company] urges member-owners to seek shelter or make alternative arrangements.”

Hollins said repair crews will be investigation outages along west U.S. 33 in Louisa County; Baker’s Store and Route 601 in Orange County; and Holly Hill and Tom’s Road in Greene County.

“We recognize this outage is having a significant impact on so many of our members,” Hollins said. “Our crews, contractors and other employees are thinking of our member-owners as we all work together to restore service as quickly and safely as possible.”

REC provides electric service to over 170,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties.

UPDATED: 11:30 a.m.

With power out and temperatures down, Fluvanna County officials are opening an emergency warming station for the cold and powerless at the Fluvanna County High School.

The site is expected to be up, running and warming by 12:30 p.m. and will remain open as long as power is out and temperatures are low.

Face masks will be required while in the warming station due to COVID-19 concerns. Access to the center at the high school is via the side doors near the staff parking lot.

No transportation is available to the site, but those needing warming are welcome to bring their vehicles, officials said.

“Station guests are encouraged to bring their own cell phone chargers, snacks, medication, and bedding material, if they anticipate staying overnight,” said Debbie Smith, County Emergency Management Coordinator.

For more information, call (434) 591-1995.

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Nearly all of Louisa County was without power Tuesday morning along with half of Albemarle and Fluvanna counties, a slight improvement from Monday when a winter storm dropped several inches of snow on Central Virginia.

As crews work to restore power, they are facing road closures and downed trees. Scottsville Road in Albemarle County was closed from Carters Mountain to Red Hill in both directions because of downed power lines. In Louisa County, U.S. 522, also called Cross County Road, was closed near Route 657 because of a tractor-trailer crash involving downed power lines.

The Virginia Department of Transportation’s Culpeper office said on social media that there were thousands of downed trees down in the Charlottesville area, many of which were tangled with utility lines.

With below freezing temperatures Tuesday morning, emergency management officials urged motorists to stay off the roads this morning until the ice melts.

Dominion Energy officials said online that the winter storm was one of the top five worst winter storms in the company’s history with 390,000 customers losing power at some point.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative said Monday evening that it took a direct hit from the winter storm, which caused more than 600 individual instances of damage and knocked out the power for more than 90,000 people, according to a news release. They expect outages to persist through the end of the work week and encouraged people to see shelter or make alternative arrangements.

Electrical crews from Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Georgia and Florida will travel to the area to help REC make repairs and restore power.

In Fluvanna County, where 53% of energy customers were without power, an emergency warming station has been opened at Fluvanna County High School. The school should open by 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and will remain open as needed, according to a news release from Fluvanna County officials.

Station guests are encouraged to bring their own cell phone chargers, snacks, medication, and bedding material if staying overnight. Transportation to the shelter will not be provided. The high school is at 918 Thomas Jefferson Parkway in Palmyra and masks are required. Enter the school using the side doors near the staff parking lot.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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