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Snow vanishes quickly; power restored
(From left) Claire Warner Coleman, 7; Elizabeth Maxwell, 4; Baylie Coleman, 5; and Catherine Maxwell, 8, begin making a snowman on the front lawn of Calvary Christian Church on Friday. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Though the onset of Thursday’s snowfall caused some unrest in the region, many in the area felt the storm wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Parts of Southwest Virginia were hit with up to 13 inches of wet, heavy snow, yet only 2.37 inches fell in Martinsville, according to city water filtration plant statistics. About 2.12 inches were reported at Philpott Lake.
Appalachian Power (APCo) spokesman Todd Burns said “we haven’t had that much” locally in terms of power outages. “There were a couple of large outages (100 or more customers),” including a downed wire and a broken pole near the A.R. Bates Jr. Garage on Chatham Highway. That outage accounted for 221 customers, he said.
Statewide, “we’ve had in excess of 117,000 customers without power (Friday) morning,” Burns said. “The storm hit in the evening hours (Thursday) and there were a lot of things being broken,” most of which were lines caused by snow-covered tree limbs sagging into power lines.
An Appalachian release on Friday estimated 128,000 customers were without power around midnight Thursday.
Power was restored in Henry and Patrick counties by Saturday night, according to APCo’s website. There still were significant outages in Floyd, Carroll and Roanoke counties and the rest of Southwest Virginia, according to the website.
“We brought in a bunch of folks from out of state and about 1,700 from other areas to help with restoration, so we’re making good progress,” Burns said.
“The weather has been accommodating,” he added. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures reached 45 degrees to go with sunny skies most of Friday.
Henry County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Pegram said Friday that despite the wet conditions when the snow hit around 6 p.m. Thursday, he had not seen or heard many reports of accidents.
“It was really slick when we got in at 7” Friday morning, he said. “One thing that helped was that it was a holiday and a lot of people were off work.”
Though Thursday’s storm was the first of the year, Burns warned that the unseasonably mild weather can turn quickly.
“We’re on the front end of winter from where we sit,” he said. “This one happened to miss Southside for the most part, but people need to be ready. This serves as a good reminder that is wintertime and we can get some bad weather.”