Hurricane Arthur was kind to greater Williamsburg on Thursday night and early Friday, passing through with rain and winds that didn't make the holiday weekend a total loss.
Heavy rain threatened Fourth of July fireworks shows – and did force the cancellation of some area events scheduled for early Friday – but dissipated relatively quickly by Friday morning. By the time the hurricane got anywhere near the peninsula, it had been downgraded to a Category 1 storm and was expected to lose strength as it traveled north.
Blue skies and sunshine arrived in the greater Williamsburg area by 10 a.m., and not long after, Williamsburg, James City County and York County saw winds of 10 mph, with gusts to 28 mph, and temperatures that ranged from the upper 70s to the low 80s.
"We were pretty much event free," said James City Police Chief Brad Rinehimer. "Even some of the roads that are prone to flooding didn't flood."
Hundreds of residents reported power outages, totaling 231 in James City, 109 in Williamsburg and 301 in York as of 8:30 a.m., according to Dominion Virginia's storm outage map. Most outages in James City and all outages in Williamsburg were fixed before 11 a.m.
Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Harris told the Daily Press early Friday morning that crews tackled areas with the largest number of outages first, and said every locality in Hampton Roads had workers "spread out everywhere" addressing the issues.
Local police and fire department officials said they received few calls for help overnight, with the most severe being a single downed tree on Berkeley Town Road at Diascund Road in upper James City and one home with an arcing transformer in Williamsburg.
"On the Fire Department side, it was a very mellow impact for us," Eric Stone, Williamsburg's Fire Department spokesman, said late Friday morning. He said they prepared for the worst but were relieved when the storm had little effect.
Rinehimer and Lt. Dennis Ivey with the York-Poquoson Sheriffs both told the Gazette there were no significant incidents overnight into the early morning.
Near the Archer's Hope marker on Colonial National Parkway, a dozen parked cars at the scenic overlook indicated visitors were out and about. There the waters of the James River lapped gently at the river's sandy edge.
One local resident, who declined to give his name, said he felt the weather forecasts over the past few days simply served to prepare residents for the worst.
"The Lord had a different plan," he said as he relaxed in his car with the windows rolled down.
"I'm relieved," he said. "I'm glad (the hurricane) went further out, but it's early in the hurricane season."
Sampson can be reached at 757-345-2345. Robertson can be reached at 757-345-2342.