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Updated: Tornado warning lifted, Michael continues eastward

srobertsjr@vagazette.com

Update 7:52 p.m. Thursday: The National Weather Service has lifted a tornado warning on James City and York counties. The warning remains in effect for New Kent County until 8:15 p.m.

Seventy-two Dominion Energy Virginia customers in Greater Williamsburg are without power, according to the Dominion Energy outage maps.

More than 78,000 Dominion customers are without power throughout Virginia and eastern North Carolina, according to the maps.

Dominion Energy customers can report power failures by calling 1-866-DOM-HELP or dominionenergy.com/outage-center/report-and-check-outages.

Update 7:25 p.m. Thursday: As Tropical Storm Michael hits Hampton Roads with heavy rains and strong winds, it is expected to intensify as it heads eastward across the Atlantic Ocean.

A tornado warning has been issued for James City, New Kent, and York counties until 7:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

A severe thunderstorm passed over Norge at 7:22 p.m. was capable of spawning a tornado, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service forecasted the center of the storm to pass over Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina Thursday evening with residual strong winds as Michael makes its way toward the North Atlantic.

Greater Williamsburg should now expect between four and seven inches of rain through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Isolated areas could receive as much as nine inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm will bring winds as strong as 50 mph with even stronger gusts through Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Williamsburg-James City County schools will open Friday on a two hour delay, according to the school division’s website.

Bright Beginnings preschool and GED morning classes are canceled.

The school division will not provide transportation to vocational or technical classes in Hampton and Newport News, nor to the Governor’s School in Hampton or morning classes at the School of the Arts in Bruton.

About 60 Dominion Energy Virginia customers were without power as of 7:18 p.m., according to the Dominion outage maps.

Dominion Energy customers can report power failures by calling 1-866-DOM-HELP or dominionenergy.com/outage-center/report-and-check-outages.

Update 3:20 p.m. Thursday: Tropical Storm Michael’s outer edges have started to bring heavy rains to Hampton Roads.

National Weather Service at Wakefield meteorologist-in-charge Jeff Orrock said in an email he expects all of Eastern Virginia to receive between three and six inches of rain through this evening and into Friday.

Hampton Roads is at an enhanced risk of numerous severe storms including tornadoes, strong winds and heavy rainfall, according to the National Weather Service.

Greater Williamsburg should expect peak wind gusts of 40 mph to 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Jolly Pond Road in James City County is closed at the dam, according to a James City County news release.

Dominion Energy customers can report power failures by calling 1-866-DOM-HELP or dominionenergy.com/outage-center/report-and-check-outages.

Original Story: Tropical Storm Michael, downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane, is expected to bring rain, high winds and the chance of tornados to Hampton Roads on Thursday.

After the storm wrought havoc on the Florida panhandle on Wednesday, the National Weather Service forecasts Michael will bring between four and six inches of rain and 50 mph wind gusts to Hampton Roads Thursday and Friday.

After school activities on Thursday have been canceled for students at all Williamsburg-James City County schools.

The wind is expected to peak in strength at about midnight Thursday, while the rain could last into Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

High winds could cause trees to fall on power lines creating power outages, and the mess of the storm might affect the morning commute on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm is rapidly moving and the chance of regionalized flooding is minimal, but localized flash flooding is possible, according to the National Weather Service.

Williamsburg, James City and York counties are under a tornado watch until 11 p.m. on Thursday, a flash flood watch is in effect until 8 a.m. Friday, and a high wind advisory is in effect until noon Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

The College of William and Mary has told students if they hear the emergency sirens to immediately go to the lowest floor of the nearest building, according to a Tribe Alert.

As the storm leaves through Virginia, it is forecasted to be in the vicinity of the English Channel between the United Kingdom and France into Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329 or on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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