Winter storm leaves thousands in the dark

Posted at 1:53 PM, Dec 09, 2013

RICHMOND, Va.(WTVR) - The winter storm that rolled through Central Virginia on Sunday knocked out the power to more than 37,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers from Sunday to Monday morning, according to a company spokesperson.

Dominion crews are currently working to restore power in areas where icing and freezing rain caused tree limbs to snap under the added weight, severing some power lines.

"I heard trees falling, then I heard transformers going, and then I saw the flashes of light, which is the transformers [blowing]," said Elaine Severson, who lives off Huguenot Road in Bon Air.  More than 300 people lost power in her neighborhood Monday morning.

Nearby J.B. Fisher Elementary was closed Monday due to a power outage at the school.  It was the only school to do so in Richmond, but surrounding school districts decided to cancel or delay classes due to the storm.

As frozen branches begin to thaw, power crews face new challenges to restoring electricity.

"Trees and the tree limbs that have been weighted down with ice are springing back up.  This is causing power outages in addition to the ones already repaired," said Karl Neddenien, a spokesperson for Dominion.

Officials estimate crews will restore power to the majority of those currently in the dark by late Monday night.  Overnight the winter storm affected more than 157,000 Dominion customers statewide, the company said.

The Rappahannock Electric Cooperative said more than 6,000 of their customers were without power.  Louisa and Culpeper county were the hardest hit, and crews are working mostly in rural areas, which presents a challenge to restoration, according to the company.

If you know of a power outage or see a downed power line in your area, you are asked to call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), or Rappahannock Electric Cooperative at 1-800-552-3904.