Winter Storm Elliott still causing problems, as crews repair damage

Winter Storm Elliott still causing problems, as crews repair damage

Winter Storm Elliott is still causing problems as crews repair damage

Published Saturday December 24, 2022 2:28 am

“Please prepare your home for a hard night frost”. That was the statement officials at the Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) released just before 10 p.m. Friday, warning residents across the region to take precautions as we continue to feel the effects of winter Storm Elliott.

And they weren’t wrong. At 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve, thanks to the wind, the temperature dropped to 7 degrees, what felt like -4 degrees. Those winds, which would at times blow up to 50 miles per hour on Friday, knocked down trees, knocked over power lines and even tore down the city of Farmville’s Christmas tree. And that wasn’t an easy task considering it was secured with guy ropes.

But while the tree can be put back up, it takes a little longer to clean up the rest of the damage. SEC officials say as of 2 a.m. 5,418 homes in their service area remain without power. Most of these are outside of our area, with only four SEC-operated homes in Cumberland and 138 in Prince Edward County remaining without lights. Cumberland’s efforts are particularly impressive considering that as of 7 p.m. Friday, 73% of SEC customers in the county were without power. Now it’s 0.3%.

SEC officials warned that due to the nature of the damage and the fact that wind gusts were still reaching 30-40 miles per hour in the early hours of Saturday morning, they could not say when all customers would turn their lights back on.

“Estimated recovery times are still unavailable due to widespread outages,” SEC officials said in their latest statement. “We are recovering outages with every hour that passes, but some of our members will still be without power [Saturday].”

SEC had 21 crews still working overnight and power has been restored to 11,059 homes so far.

Dominion responds to Winter Storm Elliott

But SEC isn’t the only company providing electricity to homes in counties Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward. Dominion also has crews on duty clearing trees, repairing wires, and working to turn lights back on. You still have some work left. As of 2 a.m., 832 Dominion customers in Prince Edward County were groping in the dark. In Buckingham the number stood at 202, with 67 homes in Cumberland still without power.

Dominion officials said their crews are on their way to restore power to everyone as quickly as possible. But just like SEC, they couldn’t give an estimated time. Part of this is weather related. According to the National Weather Service, wind gusts are expected to persist in Prince Edward and surrounding areas, reaching up to 50 km/h in the morning hours. That adds an element of uncertainty until the wind dies down.

“We understand that power outages are disruptive, especially during the holiday season,” Dominion officials said in a statement. “Our crews will continue to work until everyone is back on board.”

For people who don’t have electricity and need to go somewhere, we will update ours Facebook site to describe in detail which heat shelters will be opened. On Friday, Prince Edward County opened the Sports Arena to those without power. If that or others become available this morning we will provide information about them.

Storm’s effects persist?

Even if the winds die down, that doesn’t mean Winter Storm Elliott will go away. The Blacksburg National Weather Service says we will feel the effects of the storm through at least Sunday.

But the biggest concern is Saturday night when temperatures are expected to drop to 5 degrees. National Weather Service officials are advising people to limit their time outdoors this evening. And if you have to go outside, wear winter clothes and gloves.

In Prince Edward County, for those who are still without power and need a place to stay overnight, you can call either 434-392-3332 or 434-392-8101.

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