At the 7-Eleven in Fredericksburg on Amaret Street, the clock on the wall is frozen in time at 10:25 p.m. from Friday June 30, which is when a rare "derecho" storm hit the area by surprise.
Surrounding businesses, such as the McDonalds near University of Mary Washington and the nearby Pizza Hut were also powerless and closed. Dominion Virginia Power representatives said Sunday afternoon that they had hoped to have all power restored in the Northern Virginia region—more than 200,000 total outages—by Thursday.
Shahid P. Buriro, the franchise owner of the Amaret Street 7-Eleven, didn't give in to the loss of electricity and keep his doors closed. He used a small 800-watt generator to power some of his lights, and he used car batteries to power his cash register. He was an electrical engineer in Pakistan before he moved to United States and has owned the 7-Eleven franchise for seven years.
"When you want to survive, you have to do something creative," he said.
Buriro bought the generator during the major Fredericksburg-area snow storm of January 2010, and he used it to keep his store open when most had closed for days.
"I just cleared my parking lot and people were coming in," he said. "People were very happy that I was open."
Buriro estimated he lost between $4,000 and $5,000 worth of frozen foods, including ice cream. He had plenty of ice left in the coolers, but the generator is not powerful enough to keep any of his coolers and freezers running. He had a sign outside to let people know he was trying to sell all of his ice before it melted like his ice cream did.
"You need a huge generator and it has to be three-phase, so there is nothing I can do," he said about restoring his coolers and freezers.
At the TownePlace Suites by Marriott at 4700 Market St. south of Fredericksburg, desk attendant Liaba Burney said when she came to work at 7 a.m. Sunday morning there was 50-percent occupancy. By 1:30 p.m., she was at 95-percent occupancy.
"Everything was because of the power outages," she said. "The phone has been ringing off the hook."
Gail Anderson, who lives in Brookesmill Estates in Stafford County, got a room booked for 3 p.m. at TownePlace Suites by Marriott, so she said she was taking her toddler grandson to a restaurant until she could return for the room. Her home has been without power since Friday. Her basement has stayed cool, but she lost up to $300 in food that she just bought at Costco.
"It was very painful," she said about having to throw away all of that new food.
Craig Clarke, a civilian intelligence analyst at Quantico, and his wife, Tracey, are also staying at TownePlace Suites by Marriott. His wife has brain cancer and is undergoing daily chemotherapy treatments, so this was an unexpected expense for the Chatham Landing residents in South Stafford. He was on Twitter earlier trying to see if Dominion Virginia Power had any idea of when his small townhouse subdivision would have power. Dominion officials said Sunday that they anticipate power will be restored to Northern Virginia areas by Thursday and other parts of the state may have to wait until the end of the weekend.
"Since the storm came through I just had this sneaking suspicious that it was going to take awhile," Clarke said. "The winds were unbelievable. I have never felt winds that bad so I was thinking this is going to be awhile."
With his wife's condition and the fact that they have an older dog that needed some cooling relief, Craig Clarke went hotel hunting.
"Neither can take the heat right now," he said. "It took me 15 to 16 tries, I was calling every place. God really looked out for us. This is a great place. We are seeing lots of folks that are heat and powerless refugees. We are really thankful to find a place."
The hotel they are at has a pool, and the Clarkes are in comfort, but there's nothing like being home, he said.
"We are kind of ready to get home," Clarke said.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said during a Sunday news conference that "the scope and scale of power outages affect virtually every region of the state."
"It's going to be many days before some of the power is back on," he said in a media call on Sunday afternoon. "I know it is a horrible inconvenience, but it is critical our citizens work well together. Please know we are doing everything we can at the state level. Power companies are doing everything prudent in order to get everything back on. But there is risk of storms that could lead to more outages, so the situation could actually deteriorate."
The National Weather Service says temperatures will be in the high 90s—with the heat index of 100-105—through Wednesday.
The Virginia National Guard is staging personnel in Fredericksburg to be prepared for possible post-storm recovery operations. The Virginia Guard has been authorized to bring up to 300 personnel on state active duty and began staging approximately 110 personnel at the readiness center in Fredericksburg for possible missions starting Sunday.