Virginia’s first snowstorm of the season came with power outages, and the numbers of people affected quickly multiplied. In this region, King George, and Westmoreland were hit the hardest as of Monday evening.
At approximately 9 a.m., Northern Neck Electric Co-op (NNEC) was reporting several outages that caused about 400 members to lose power in areas including King George. Within a half-hour, the outages were impacting nearly 1,500 people.
Crews were out working but road conditions were “deteriorating quickly,” the co-op announced. It encouraged its members to avoid traveling on the roads so NNEC and VDOT crews could get around. The conditions for restoration efforts are severe, the update added.
Less than an hour later, the picture was dimming for many NNEC members as the prospect of a same-day fix seemed to be fading. The co-op reported that it was facing at least 30 separate outage events mostly caused by trees and limbs “from outside of the NNEC maintained right-of-way.” In a statement before the storm, the co-op said it trims trees throughout the year to prevent sagging caused by ice.
It will take a significant amount of time for full restoration to occur, the co-op forewarned, adding that some members may not have their power restored until the following day. Further, the co-op again called for people to please stay off the roads, noting that its crews were being slowed down by vehicles blocking their path.
As 1 p.m. approached, NNEC’s power outages had multiplied many-fold and were affecting about 6,400 members including “a significant amount” of King George and Westmoreland.
Around 3:30, with thousands of users out of power, NNEC announced that it would be receiving assistance from 16 mutual aid crews from nine different co-ops. The crews were coming from Pennsylvania and were slated to start working at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, people in King George were directed to information about a heat shelter.
At about noon, Dominion Energy was reporting that over 200,000 of its customers across the state were facing power outages. By 3 p.m. the numbers without power included several hundred users in Northumberland and Lancaster. The outages, once again, were steeper in Westmoreland where 588 were without power and in King George where the outages reached nearly 4,400. Dominion didn’t report any outages in Richmond County at that time.
Dominion attributed its outages to the wet snow and high winds and warned that those conditions would continue to impact the service area into Monday evening as falling trees and tree limbs were continuing to drive up the numbers of users facing power loss.
Dominion also noted that temperatures were set to drop significantly, in some areas falling into the teens, which was likely to cause freezing roads, which would slow down its work.
The company said crews were working around the clock and their restoration efforts would continue until every customer’s power was back on. But people in the hardest-hit areas should prepare to be without power for multiple days.