Shenandoah Valley Breathes Sigh of Relief as Sandy Passes - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Central Shenandoah Valley Breathes Sigh of Relief as Sandy Passes

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Many folks in the central Shenandoah Valley are breathing a sigh of relief.  They saw heavy snows just to the south and west, and major power outages to the north and east.  But there is plenty of cleanup and recovery work to do.

Power outages for Augusta and Rockingham counties are now small and scattered, and only a few back roads remain under water, but problems are much more severe for our neighbors just to the north.

The operations center at Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) is getting mostly good news from the field.  Restoration efforts for the cooperative's 90,000 members got a boost from the storm's rapid movement away from the valley.

"We were able to actually get our buckets in the air - particularly in the northern area - much sooner than we had expected," said Michael Aulgur with SVEC. 

SVEC says early warnings about Sandy allowed them to mobilize about 425 workers.

"In addition to those SVEC folks, there are six crews from other cooperatives - from Alabama and North Carolina," Aulgur said.  "And then we also have two contract crews with us as well out in the field from Virginia." 

The Shenandoah River and its tributaries closed several secondary roads in the Broadway-Timberville area.  But just to the south in Augusta County, a dusting of snow followed moderate rainfall and wind, and the mix caused few problems.

The daunting forecast did prompt the closure of schools in Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro.

"We try to keep as consistent as we can for students," said Augusta County Superintendent Chuck Bishop.  "Students really like consistency, they like to be in a routine.  So we do the best we can trying to maintain that routine, but things like this happen."

Only 17 outages remained between the two power companies that serve Augusta and Rockingham counties around 6 p.m. Tuesday.  All of the commercial flights in and out of the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport were also back on schedule.

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