Michael leaves mark

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tropical Storm Michael’s effects in Charlotte can be felt nearly a week after the storm’s high winds, torrential rainfall and flooding caught thousands by surprise and created widespread outages and road closures for thousands more.

Emergency personnel, including representatives of fire departments, rescue squads, Virginia State Police and Virginia Division 3 Technical Rescue Team intervened for most of Thursday evening responding to rescue calls and emergencies caused by alarming rises in water levels on main and secondary roads.

Dominion Energy, on its outage map, noted that close to 160 customers in the Charlotte County area remain without power Tuesday afternoon, Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC)’s outage map indicated that approximately 393 customers in the area remain without power as of Tuesday afternoon.

SEC and Dominion cited that the outages caused by several dozen broken or fallen power lines have been notable and record-making.

SEC cited that at the peak of the tropical storm’s impact in the region, 40,000 of the company’s service members were impacted, which amounts to roughly 70 percent of SEC’s system.

“Hurricane Michael created devastation across the majority of our service territory,” Jeff Edwards, SEC’s president and CEO said in a news release. “Hundreds of fallen trees created miles of downed power lines to repair along with approximately 100 broken poles. This is the worst damage I have seen in my 33-year career, with the exception of hurricanes Hugo and Isabel.”

Dominion said there were more than 600,000 customers around the state who experienced outages, amounting to the sixth largest outage in the company’s history.

SEC cited that crew members have discovered nearly 100 broken poles, hundreds of fallen trees and miles of downed power lines in the area.

Charlotte County Public Schools closed schools Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, citing dangerous road conditions, widespread power outages and having to dispose of food and milk at the schools after prolonged outages.

The Red Cross visited the county and the Charlotte Court House Volunteer Fire Department Monday and Tuesday to distribute a collective total of 500 meals to residents affected by power outages.

Over the weekend and into this week, several public entities and businesses in the region have provided food, shelter, showers, charging stations for electrical devices and a sense of community for those experiencing isolation and the effects of power outages at their homes, including area fire departments that provided drinking water and stations to charge electronic devices.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reported that as of Tuesday afternoon close to a dozen secondary routes in Charlotte County are closed or are passable with care due to washouts, flooding and downed powerlines.