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Fast-moving storm leaves trail of destruction

South Boston News
Upended and broken trees at the home at 113 Buffalo Road in Clarksville. / May 16, 2018

A Thursday evening storm that ripped through the Clarksville area Thursday evening uprooted trees and damaged buildings throughout town, leaving home and business owners with a mess on their hands.

Wayne Albright, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, confirmed straight line winds blew through Clarksville just after 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10. The damage left residents in the area without power for several hours.

Nobody was injured, but several buildings sustained heavy damage.

Tim Moore, who owns the farm produce stand that operates in the parking lot of the Dollar General Store, said he was picking up a box of tomatoes from his shed when he heard a “loud woosh.” He turned around to see the canopy over his stand and several plant containers lying on the ground. The frame which held the canopy was twisted and crumpled.

Over on Buffalo Road, homeowner Janice Douglas lamented the destruction to her house. She’s spent the past two years renovating the more than 100-year old Victorian home. One of the large maples that once shaded the front of the house was uprooted. A second maple had fallen against the west side of the house, knocking down both chimneys, and a third was snapped in half and laying across her yard and into the street.

The storm was over in less than 45 minutes. In its aftermath, town crews, VDOT workers and law enforcement personnel were left handling the cleanup. They blocked streets throughout the downtown area as they worked to clear the debris of broken tree limbs and signage from the roads.

Power crews with both Mecklenburg Electric and Dominion Virginia Power worked into the night to restore electrical service to customers throughout the county.

Power outages in Mecklenburg began popping up around 6 p.m., said Dominion spokesperson Rayhan Daudani. The number of outages peaked around 8 p.m. with more than 1,200 without power. He said Dominion Energy crews responded and had all but 400 customers restored by 9 p.m. The remaining customers were brought back online by 4 a.m. By Friday afternoon, only one of Dominion’s 10,000 customers in Mecklenburg County was without power.

Nineteen Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative customers living in Merifield Acres near Clarksville lost power “just after 5:30 p.m.” said David Lipscomb Vice President of Member and Energy Services with MEC. Power went down for another 43 customers living around Eppes Fork/Whits Point area around 6 p.m. “In total 394 Coop members were affected with most being restored by 9 p.m.” Lipscomb explained.

Town workers continued their efforts to remove fallen tree limbs and other debris from the roads throughout the day Friday. Residents were advised to use caution when walking or driving in the area.

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