NWS confirms tornado in James City County; Tropical Storm Michael causes power outages, school closings in Historic Triangle

jojacobs@vagazette.com

It could be days before power is restored to everyone in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Michael.

When Tropical Storm Michael hit the area it caused power outages for thousands of Dominion Energy customers locally.

As of late Friday afternoon, 15,787 James City customers were without power, as were 1,862 Williamsburg customers and 14,900 York customers, according to the online Dominion outage map.

A peak of 18,000 James City customers lost power due to the storm, county spokeswoman Renee Dallman said.

The storm power outages peaked at around 3,200 city customers, city spokeswoman Lee Ann Hartmann said.

More than 600,000 Dominion customers were affected by the storm. The “vast majority” of customers are expected to have their power restored by Monday, according to a statement on Dominion’s website Friday afternoon.

Virginia State Police determined five people died in the state as a result of the storm as of Friday morning, though no fatalities happened in Williamsburg, James City or York, according to an agency news release.

People can charge their cellphones at county facilities:

  • The Abram Frink Jr Community Center, which is located at 8901 Pocahontas Trail and open until 8 p.m. on Friday.
  • The James City County Recreation Center, which is located at 5301 Longhill Road and is open until 8 p.m. on Friday.

Jolly Pond Road has reopened. The John Tyler Highway and Greensprings Road intersection is closed. Little Creek Dam Road is closed at Turners Neck, according to a county news release Friday afternoon.

The county has updated its count of homes damaged by the storm to 32 homes. The initial damage estimate is $1.8 million, according to the county news release.

noon Friday

At least one tornado hit James City County in the Norge area Thursday. A second tornado was detected near the county line in New Kent as Tropical Storm Michael rolled through the region, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado in the Norge area was detected a little after 7:20 p.m. Thursday and continued until around 7:35 p.m., said Ryan Rogers, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Wakefield station. The other tornado started around 7 p.m. and lasted approximately 10 minutes.

“These were quick hitting. They didn’t give us much warning,” Rogers said.

Details are still being collected on the strength of the tornadoes, but they appear to have been relatively weak, Rogers said.

James City County Administrator Scott Stevens declared a local state of emergency Friday, according to a county news release.

Dominion Energy’s power restoration efforts continued Friday morning in what’s being called a “multi-day” process.

"As we begin this multi-day restoration effort, we appreciate the patience of our customers and urge them to stay safe and mindful of electric wires that may be hidden by downed trees or flooded streets," said Ed Baine, senior vice president of electric distribution, in a Dominion Energy news release. "We are dedicated to restoring power as safely and quickly as possible and will work around the clock until all of our customers are restored."

There were 3,150 customers in Williamsburg without power at around 11:45 a.m. Friday, according to Domino’s online outage map. About 17,000 customers in James City and 12,369 customers in York were without power.

9:40 a.m. Friday

A National Weather Service meteorologist confirmed at least one tornado touched down in James City.

The tornado was recorded Thursday in the upper part of the county in the Norge area.

“This is a radar confirmed tornado. We will work to get out there sometime in the coming days to confirm the exact intensity,” meteorologist Jeff Orrock wrote in an email.

The tornado didn’t cause any injuries, though it damaged property at The Village at Candle Station, Colonial Heritage and Kristiansand. At least 14 homes in James City sustained damage in the storm, according to a post on the James City County Facebook page.

In the county, the follow roads were closed, according to a county news release sent at 9:18 a.m. Friday.

  • The intersection at John Tyler Highway and Greensprings Road. The intersection is closed due to a large fallen tree, which took down power lines and broke power poles.
  • Little Creek Dam Road is closed at Turners Neck as a result of downed power lines.
  • Jolly Pond Road is closed at the dam. There are reports of downed trees on the road.

Colonial Williamsburg will have a delayed opening at noon Friday due to the storm, Colonial Williamsburg spokesman Joe Straw wrote in an email.

7:25 a.m. Friday

Many Dominion Energy customers are without power and area schools due to the overnight effects of Tropical Storm Michael on Friday.

In Williamsburg, 2,174 customers were out of power around 7:20 a.m. Friday morning. So were 16,908 customers in James City and 15,793 customers in York, according to the Dominion outage map.

Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools and York County Public schools are closed Friday.

James City county offices and facilities have a three hour delay Friday. The James City County Recreation Center is operating normally, according to a tweet from the county.

York offices also are operating on a two-hour delay Friday, according to a York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office tweet.

The National Weather Service’s Wakefield station reported that the storm is moving away from the area Friday morning. Friday’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high around 69 degrees.

If your power is out, call Dominion at 1-866-366-4357. If you see a traffic light outage in James City, call 757-566-0112.

This story will be updated.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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