Fast-moving storm knocks out power in region, Fredericksburg heavily damaged | Local News

A mid-afternoon storm that rumbled through the Wednesday region knocked out power for thousands of homeowners and businesses and caused excessive damage in the city of Fredericksburg.

Kirk Farrare, who lives on Lee Avenue downtown, was at a neighbor’s home clearing away a large tree that was split into two at its base just after 4 pm Farrare said when he was at his own home earlier as the storm rolled in, he witnessed winds so strong he thought a tornado had touched down.

“When that wind came through, it actually pulled my curtains down, so I stepped back and saw the wind itself,” Farrare said. “It really came quick.”

By 5:30 pm, Dominion Energy reported 5,398 customers were still without power in the city, as well as 6,783 in Stafford County, 883 in Spotsylvania and 1,582 in Culpeper.

Jeremy Geiger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said shortly after noon Wednesday, a storm formed north of Washington that strengthened along the Interstate 95 corridor in Prince William County. Geiger said the quick-moving storm that tracked aggressively south dumped up to 1½ inches of rain in some areas and delivered wind gusts up to 85 mph in some areas.

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“That’s unconfirmed because we don’t have any wind reports, but we do have numerous trees and storm damage reported in the city of Fredericksburg proper with some trees down in surrounding areas, as well,” Geiger said.

Geiger said the weather service anticipated more storms Wednesday night.

“It could be multiple rounds of storms,” ​​Geiger said.

In a city without power Wednesday afternoon, few vehicles were on the street and Fredericksburg police were busy directing traffic at many of the city’s main intersections. Utility crews were surveying damage and making repairs.

“Fredericksburg Public Safety is out in force to manage numerous downed trees,” Sonja Cantu, the city’s public information officer wrote in an afternoon press release. “Power outages are significant throughout the city. Please stay at home and off the roads if possible.”

Residents who were picking up the pieces downtown said the high winds and heavy rain came and went quickly.

Geoff Lawson, who lives on Hanover Street, said his chimney cap was blown off and he was without power at his home. He said his neighbor sustained shinele damage on his roof, and another neighbor had a window smashed when a tree struck their home.

“That’s some heavy wind and I was looking for the funnel cloud,” Lawson said. “We hear the siren from here, so we knew it was coming.”

Lawson said although Dominion crews were immediately on the scene making repairs, the company website shows “no estimate” for a time period to restore his own residential service, but he remained optimistic.

“Power comes back pretty quick around here,” Lawson said. “We’re lucky about that compared to out in the sticks.”

Don Carver, who lives on Lee Avenue, said both power and electrical wires came down in his backyard, knocked from their utility poles by high winds and tree limbs.

“More than likely the wind,” Carver said. “It was like three minutes of ‘Fast and Furious,’ then the heavy rain came after that.”

Kelley Stevens was evaluating damage at her husband’s aunt’s house in the 1200 block of Littlepage Street about 4 pm Two trees fell on the front of the brick suburban home and another fell in the rear. She said she watched the storm roll in from her office about one mile away before coming home to assess her own damage.

“The winds were torrent and the rain was coming down so fast and hard. It was all white,” Stevens said. “This is the worst storm I’ve ever seen.”

James Scott Baron:

540/374-5438

[email protected]

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