Five dead, one missing and half a million people are without power after Michael ravages Virginia


Five people are dead and one is missing in Virginia in incidents related to the remnants of Hurricane Michael, which also left more than half a million people without power and more than 1,200 roads in the state flooded or shut down, officials said.

On Twitter, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said that it had confirmed five deaths related to the storm. That brings the death toll to 11. Emergency officials also said there were five suspected tornadoes in the state.

On Friday morning, one person was missing in Charlotte County after becoming stranded in a car that was overcome by flooding around 10:20 p.m. Thursday, officials said.

Emergency management officials said on social media that “the remnants of Tropical Storm Michael continue to impact large portions” of the state. “Flooding, [downed] trees, closed roads and debris will impact the morning commute and one-half [of] Virginians are without power this morning.”

Four of the deaths were related to people being swept away in floodwaters along roads, and one was a firefighter who was killed in a crash along a highway, said officials with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Two deaths were in the central part of the state.

In Pittsylvania County, Virginia State Police said James E. King Jr., 45, of Dry Fork, Va., was swept away from his vehicle Thursday afternoon when he got caught in a flash flood.

A local sheriff’s deputy and a local resident tried to rescue him but police said the “floodwaters were too deep and too swift” for them to reach him. His body was found about 10:37 p.m.

And in the same county, three firefighters also had to be rescued from a boat that capsized as they were trying to rescue people from rising waters on a bridge.

In Hanover County, a firefighter — who was later identified as Lt. Brad Clark — was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer and two other firefighters were seriously injured as they tried to help with another crash on Interstate 295. The driver of the tractor-trailer also suffered serious injuries.

Officials with the Hanover County Fire Department said the crash happened about 9 p.m. when Clark was on a crew of firefighters helping after two vehicles crashed along southbound I-295 outside Mechanicsville. A tractor-trailer headed south on the interstate then struck the fire crew, officials said.

In Charlotte County, three people in a vehicle became stranded in high water on a bridge along Mt. Harmony Road and were clinging to the railings when rescuers arrived. They were able to save a 17-year-old boy with a human chain of law enforcement officers, residents and a rope, but two adults — a man and a woman — were swept away in the “rushing floodwaters before deputies could reach them,” state police said. They said the three were related.

Police found the man’s body overnight and are still looking for the woman, officials said.

In Danville, two people died after being swept away by floodwaters. One man, William Lynn Tanksley, 53, was swept from his vehicle around 5 p.m., officials said. Another person, whom police have not yet identified, was stranded in a car overcome by flooding around 10 p.m.

The five suspected tornadoes are believed to have hit in Amelia, New Kent, Pittsylvania, Gloucester and Halifax counties, said Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for VDEM. He said the National Weather Service was out Friday morning looking at damage and trying to determine whether there were tornadoes.

“As the light comes up today we’re looking at damages,” Caldwell said. “We see a lot of downed trees.”

Caldwell said there was “a lot of flash flooding in the Danville and Roanoke areas, plus high winds in the Hampton Roads area.”

Officials in Danville said on the city’s website that the Dan River had risen above 30 feet, which was the highest level since Hurricane Fran hit in 1996 when the river crested at 28.65 feet. The river, officials said, is expected to stay above 30 feet until Saturday morning.

“Most of the impact [from the storm] has now gone offshore,” Caldwell said. “Now the effort is in assessing the damage and helping localities clean up.”

On Friday morning, a search remained underway for two people who were swept away after their vehicle became stuck on a bridge in Charlotte County, state police said.

Officials in Virginia said 585,000 people were without power in Virginia, mainly along the Interstate 81 corridor and east to the Hampton Roads area. And 1,200 roads, mainly in the state’s central and western parts, are closed because of downed trees.

In the District and surrounding areas, residents awoke Friday to downed trees and wires, plus high water on some roads. Trees and poles were down on Canal Road near Chain Bridge. A large tree also had blocked part of River Road.

Some schools in the region delayed their openings. Public schools in Spotsylvania, Stafford, St. Mary’s, Charles and King George opened two hours late because of the heavy winds and downed trees.

Transportation officials warned drivers to allow extra time and slow down during their morning commutes.

In La Plata, Md., parking lots were flooded and there flooding was reported in parts of Fredericksburg, which received at least three inches of rain overnight.

The National Weather Service had a wind advisory in effect until noon. Wind gustswere expected to reach 40 miles per hour.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *