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Storm catches many by surprise

The home of Langston and Letitia Washington near Warner was cut in half Thursday night by a giant oak tree that fell on the home during Hurricane Michael. Their daughter Tish was on the sofa inside and was pinned under the tree. Using chainsaws, local firemen had to cut the tree to be able to lift it off the girl. She survived the incident without a scratch. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

by Larry Chowning

The back end of Hurricane Michael passed through Middlesex and surrounding counties Thursday night and will be remembered as the storm that “caught most by surprise.”

With all the nationwide talk over the 155-mile per hour hurricane that devastated Mexico Beach and areas along the panhandle of Florida, who would have thought Michael would have had much punch by the time it roared across the South and into Virginia.

On Thursday night in Middlesex, the storm delivered 60 to 70 mile-per-hour gusts of wind, and tornado conditions were reported in the areas of Saluda, Warner, Water View and Laneview. 

Middlesex Emergency Services Coordinator David Layman reported on Monday that on Friday and Saturday, October 12-13, county fire and rescue personnel responded to 42 fallen trees; 17 downed power lines; four blown transformers; one boat incident; one tree on a house with a subject trapped; two automobile accidents caused by trees falling; and three reports of flooding.

Early Friday morning after the storm, 5,700 homes were out of electricity in Middlesex. It was cut down to 3,700 on Saturday and 2,000 on Sunday. On Monday as this story was written there were still 480 homes in the county without electricity, reported Layman. 
“I think overall the county is very fortunate,” said Layman. “We had some major gusts of wind and were fortunate to have gotten through it without any major losses.”

More than 6 inches of rain fell during the night of October 11-12 causing the Dragon Run to flood over northbound Route 17 at the Middlesex-Gloucester county line. Even 4 days later VDOT had the northbound lane closed and diverted traffic to the southbound lane. The above photo was taken on Saturday about 5:30 p.m. by Kate Oliver.

As part of the county emergency services plan to provide water to those without electricity, stations were set up at Water View and Deltaville firehouses, the courthouse in Saluda and at Camp Piankatank in Hartfield. On Saturday and Sunday, showers were open to the public at Camp Piankatank for those whose well pumps were off because of no electricity.

“We had a lot of people take advantage of that service,” said Layman. “It’s tough business when you can’t get water from your well.”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 10.18.2018

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