Irene’s Impact on Virginia

Hurricane Irene, now sweeping up the East Coast, has already led to the deaths of eight people in four states.  Three of those deaths occurred in Virginia.

In Newport News, an 11 year old boy died when a tree crashed through his apartment yesterday. In Brunswick County, one man was killed when a tree fell across the car he was a passenger in.  A Chesterfield County man died when a tree fell on his house.

After hours of roaring winds and driving rain through southeaster and central Virginia, many, particularly along the coast, are waking up without power….to find damaged homes, fallen trees, and flooding.

About 800,000 homes and businesses are now without power, and officials say it may be several days before they’ll get it back—so thousands are still seeking refuge in shelters,

The storm was fairly slow-moving—at 15 miles per hour—giving it more time to pound Virginia with wind and rain, and as Governor Bob McDonnell says, the broad impact of the storm made it an awesome force even inland.

“In fact, Richmond reported 71 mph gusts at 6:20 p.m. at the airport and that’s roughly 100 miles away form the storm’s center,”  he said.

The Governor also points out that  16 inches of rain fell along parts of U.S. 460…. And those heavy rains could cause rivers in the Southeastern part of the  state to flood for the next few days or so.

Virginia’s National Guard solders free 10 motorists trapped for hours by downed trees—and by 9 o’clock last night, the Virginia State Police fielded more than 1600  calls for help.

–by Connie Stevens

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