Severe Storms Hit CharlottesvillePosted: Updated:
A ferocious storm swept through downtown Charlottesville Thursday afternoon causing multiple trees to fall, some on cars, and causing major power outages throughout the city.
Dominion Power is reporting over 11,000 power outages across central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. At one point over 60,000 customers were without electricity in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
The high winds that came with the pounding rain tore off a huge section of metal roofing in downtown Charlottesville, then left it dangling over power lines on East Market Street, across from the police station.
"It was just a calm afternoon, then the rain started pouring sideways and branches and things just started blowing down the pedestrian mall," said Whit Overstreet, who witnessed the storm roll through.
There were multiple reports of trees falling onto houses on Angees St., Kenwood Ln., Concord Dr., and trees falling on cars throughout the city, some trapping motorist inside. A man who was trapped inside of a car on Rugby Ave. is in serious condition, but the injury is non-life threatening.
Parts of Rugby Ave. and Grady Rd. were closed because of damage and debris. Parts of Georgetown Rd. in Albemarle were closed as well.
Once the trees and power lines started falling, it was tough for emergency crews to respond to calls. Firefighters, EMS and police had a difficult time navigating through traffic while trying to deal with an overwhelming number of rescue calls.
Emergency crews got to as many people in trouble as they could, but firefighters say they often had to take three or four detours to reach their destinations.
"We've been going from one call to the other," said David Cason with the Charlottesville Fire Department. "And actually we've been getting stopped by people with trees down in houses, on cars so we're actually having to stop and kind of help before we get to the other calls, so we've been swamped."
Emergency crews also say the storms could not have hit a worse time; during the evening rush hour. They say all the cars on the road just compounded their problems.
There was a tree across the railroad tracks at McIntire Park. Also trees were down in Penn Park and Washington Park downtown.
The wind was so severe it blew the chimney over at the Music Education Center.
The storms have caused Charlottesville City Schools to cancel all summer classes and activities for Friday, June 25.
Reported By NBC29 HD News