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Wind batters area
Strong winds whipped through the area Wednesday evening, leading to reports of downed trees and other wind damage. Above, part of an awning was ripped off the front of The Artisan Center on West Church Street in uptown Martinsville. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Thursday, March 13, 2014
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
A cold front blew into the area Wednesday night, causing wind gusts that downed trees and some power lines.
Wind gusts as high as 49 miles per hour were expected as temperatures were to fall to around 27 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.
The National Weather Service’s station at the Blue Ridge Airport in Spencer recorded sustained winds between 20 and 28 mph from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to online records. Gusts were recorded at 44 mph there at 7:15.
Henry County Public Safety Director Rodney Howell said the area was under a thunderstorm advisory and then a warning for a short time, but no storms materialized.
However, the high winds blew the cold air into the area, he said, adding that it was expected to be worse in the mountains west of Henry County.
Because the ground is so wet from recent snow and rain, numerous trees fell in the wind, Howell said, adding that the problem appeared to be county-wide.
In particular, he said a tree fell on a mobile home in the Blackberry area, but he said he was not aware of any injuries from that incident.
Also, trees fell on power lines, taking electric service out, Howell said. That occurred in The Great Road area at mid-evening, he added.
Appalachian Power reported that 1,059 customers were without service at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. In Patrick County, 567 customers were without power at that time, according to APCo’s website.
Falling trees can cause numerous problems, Howell said, including trees across roads that motorists cannot see in time to stop.
Also, anytime the power is off and people use auxiliary heat there is an increased risk of fire, he said.
The wind advisory for the area was due to expire at 4 this morning.
Today is expected to be sunny with a high near 41 and winds of 16 to 18 mph and gusts up to 29 mph.