UPDATE: Less Than 4,000 Without Power In Fredericksburg Area
Dominion Power is reporting several thousand households are without power in Fredericksburg out of 14,127 customers. Call 911 if you are in distress and request a cooling center. Cooling station for Fredericksburg is Hugh Mercer Elementary School.
Update 9 p.m.:
Dominion Power tweeted "As the cell phone lines open up in Northern Va, more folks are able to report their outages-increasing the stats," at 6:45 p.m.
The power company also alerted that if you get a call back asking if your power is on and it is not to select option 3, which lets the company know there is additional damage to repair. If you hang up, the company assumes you are back on the grid.
As of 8:45 p.m. Saturday, 350,195 Northern Virginia Dominion customers were without power. In Fredericksburg 3,743 Dominion customers are still without power. The interactive outage map shows 1,260 Spotsylvania customers without power and 26,156 customers in Stafford in the dark.
So far, severe thunderstorms have not hit the area this evening. But rain and lightning could be heavy at some points this evening as rain rolls through again.
The cooling center at Hugh Mercer Elementary School (2100 Cowan Blvd.) will reopen Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. said Mikes Jones, Fredericksburg Deputy Fire Chief.
Update 6 p.m.:
Hang in there! Power outage numbers are decreasing. Dominion reports that 369,231 Northern Virginians are without power.
Dominion's interactive outage map shows that 3,743 City of Fredericksburg residents are without power as of 5:45 p.m.
Update 4:18 p.m.:
Cooling stations available in the area:
City of Fredericksburg
Cooling Station at Hugh Mercer Elementary School at 2100 Cowan Blvd. (Opened at noon) Please do NOT bring pets to the shelter. Only service dogs will be allowed.
Rodney Thompson Middle School, 75 Walpole Ave.,
Individuals should bring personal care items such as sleeping bags, pillows, glasses, prescription medication, water and other items that they use on a daily basis.
Betty Queen Intergenerational Center
522 Industrial Dr. (noon to 7 p.m.)
King George County
KG Fire Company 1 8122 Kings Hwy. (8 a.m. -5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)
Cold water will be available, but no food. Pets are not allowed.
Update 2:03 p.m.: Mike Jones, Deputy Fire Chief for the city of Fredericksburg said there are 8,800 customers in the city without power.
"Two major circuits are down and Dominion Virginia Power is trying to restore those areas as soon as possible," said Chief Jones in an email. "As much as 50 percent of the Fredericksburg region served by Dominion Virginia Power was without service this morning. Dominion is calling crews back in and bring in crews from down south to assist with power restoration."
Jones said that all streets in Fredericksburg are passable.
"City Public Works has crews out trimming and removing trees as needed and within city guidelines," said Jones. "Most major intersections have the traffic signals working off Dominion Power or portable generators."
Major areas without power at this time are Route 1 north from Stratford Square Apartments, Normandy Village, Downtown from Charlotte Street north toward Route 1, Washington Ave. and Fall Hill areas around the Quarles building, said Jones. Other areas have sporadic outages.
For those who need cooling and have to bring their animals, PetSmart has agreed to allow those individuals and their animals to come into the store and cool off. Dogs must either be on a leash or in a kennel, cats must be in a kennel.
Update 12:25 p.m.: Be advised that the Fredericksburg Police Department non-emergency phone lines are back in operation at this time.
Update 11:52 a.m.: The City of Fredericksburg will open a cooling center at noon Saturday at Hugh Mercer Elementary School at 2100 Cowan Blvd. Please go to the school if you are without power and the heat is getting to be too much for you or your family. Please check on the elderly and help them get to Hugh Mercer if necessary.
Bob McDonnell @GovernorVA tweeted: "This is the largest non-hurricane power outage in Virginia history, ~2.5M people w/o power."
Update 11:11 a.m.: Fredericksburg Police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe says the police administrative lines are down, but 911 is working. It could be up to four hours before the admin lines are restored. Still use 911 for emergencies. For anyone needing urgent, but non-emergency assistance from the Fredericksburg Police Department, please call 540-834-2211 or 540-373-1414.
Amtrak is also have storm-related problems. Amtrak tweeted that "Regrettably, tracks to FBG are still impassable at this time."
Update 10:32 a.m.: Fredericksburg Deputy Fire Chief Mike Jones said that about 8,800 city residences are still without power as of 10 a.m.
“That is down about 2,000 from 6 a.m. this morning, but it is still a significant number, especially with the weather conditions we are expecting today," he said.
Most city streets and all highways are passable, he said. One danger spot is on Kenmore Avenue between Cornell Street and Monroe Street, where a large tree is blocking the street. "I don’t know if we can get that or not, it is a pretty bad spot."
Jones said there were no reports of serious injury because of the storm.
Jones said three to four tree crews with the city and contractors are out removing trees and limbs. Most traffic lights are working now, if not by power then with generators.
"Based on projections from the National Weather Service, with the high temperatures today and the heat index being above 110, we will be opening a cooling shelter," Jones said. The location of cooling shelter has not been determined yet, and Fredericksburg Patch will update this story with the location as soon as possible.
Friday night was a tumultuous weather night for the Northern Virginia area. Fredericksburg was hit hard by power outages.
The storm sent many property owners outside to sweep away leaves and pick up tree limbs from their lawns. A vehicle on Caroline Street was crushed by a tree. A friend of the owner said she had heard that hail was coming so she had just moved her car under the tree when a few minutes later it fell and crushed her car.
Dominion Power reports that 10,579 customers in Fredericksburg are without power, 55,721 in Stafford County have no power and 9,480 in Spotsylvania County have no power.
"We anticipate this will be a multi-day restoration and have asked for mutual assistance from other utilities," Dominion Virginia Power tweeted at 8:15 a.m. Saturday. About 500,000 people are without power in the Northern Virginia region.
Verizon and AT&T customers have reported being without cell and home phoen service Saturday.
"The severe storms that hit the Washington metropolitan area Friday night – and the resulting power outages that have affected much of the region – have also affected services for some Verizon customers," said Harry J. Mitchell with Verizon Communications. "Our operations teams currently are assessing the impact and are working to restore service as quickly as possible."
Patch is waiting on information from AT&T regarding outages.
Father Don Rooney of St. Mary's of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was on the roof of the church off Staffod Avenue and William Street removing tree limbs. A tent that was going to be used for Sunday School was stuck on top of a pine tree behind his church.
Natatia Bledsoe, Fredericksburg police spokeswoman, said a cooling center will be open if there is a need, most likely at a local school. She said officials with the schools, fire department and social services met Friday to discuss opening a cooling center. She said fire officials are meeting at 10 a.m. with the city manager to reassess the situation, but there haven't been any calls yet from people asking about cooling centers. Temperatures could reach up to 100 degrees later today.
"If there is someone in distress call 911 and express their need and they will start taking note of these," she said.
The Fredericksburg Farmers Market will close early today at 1 p.m. because of the excessive heat.
Was your power out for long Friday night? Do you have photos of downed trees or other thunderstorm-related damage? Click "add photos" to the right of this article.