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Hanover, New Kent County hit hard by severe storms

Posted at 1:43 PM, Jul 02, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-02 13:54:07-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va (WTVR) -- Hanover County was one of the hardest hit areas following an active weather weekend across Central Virginia.

"It just look like a war zone," said Hanover resident Vern Sykes.  "At first you are kind of really afraid to look at the damage because we knew we had damage because we could see the fence broken in."

As Thelma and Vern Sykes surveyed the devastation surrounding their home what they found were trees snapped in half like match sticks, while other trees pierced through a side fence.  All of the damage was a result of heavy rain and strong wind moving through their town.

"It was just a tremendous amount of noise, and just rushing right on through the area," said Vern.

The couple took cover inside their home, and could only do one thing as the storm came too close for comfort.

"I prayed a lot that it wouldn't be worse you know and it could have been worse," said Thelma.  "I think God was with us, that it didn't do any more damage than what we're dealing with.  We are still alive."

The Sykes said they had plenty of blessings to count.  Their air conditioning unit went untouched.  Also the fallen trees managed to avoid crushing a 500 gallon propane tank.
The couple is now taking steps to recover with the help of their neighbors.  One neighbor dropped off ice to help the Sykes survive the sweltering heat as they wait for their electricity to be restored.  In the meantime a generator is supplying them with limited power inside their home.

Thirty miles away, it was a similar situation in New Kent County.  Large trees were ripped from its roots, leaving behind deep pockets of damage.

The storm tore through a cluster of trees outside New Kent County resident Paul Smith's home.

"I knew it had blown something over because when I came out of the house I could see open space where trees are supposed to be," said Smith.

Smith said he was making his way inside his house when the first signs of the storm appeared. 

"I was in the car but I couldn't even see," recalled Smith.  "You could hardly see anything."

The storm left a trail of damage in its wake.  In addition to trees being knocked down, the power was knocked out.  And as quickly as the storm came, it left.

"We have a generator that is taking care of the basic things," said Smith.  "Matter of fact, me and the 'Old Steel' will get to work tomorrow on it--my steel chainsaw.  You have to roll your sleeves up and get busy cleaning up."

It's a shared situation in Hanover County.

"You just tough it out and do the best you can do, that's all you can do," said Vern and Thelma.  "It could be a lot worse."

Hanover County officials say the 911 lines serving Montpelier and Beaverdam areas of the county were not working over the weekend.  If you have an emergency you need to dial (804) 365-6140.