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Storm knocks out power as region braces for second round of snow

Bernadette Jenkins, a security officer at Lord Fairfax Community College, is framed under an icy tree branch outside the school's library on Monday. The college closed Monday due to the ice and snow. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

By Katie Demeria

After Sunday's ice storm, power outages were minor in the valley, but many throughout Virginia are reporting a loss of power as another winter storm that may bring up to 5 inches of snow approaches the commonwealth.

More than 109,000 were reporting outages as of Monday, according to the Associated Press. Most of those were focused in Northern Virginia.

There were 40,600 Dominion Virginia Power customers without power as of Monday afternoon, Karl Neddenien, spokesperson for DVP said. Of those, 10,000 were in Fairfax, and 11,000 were in the Woodbridge area.

"The Northwest region was hardest hit by the storm last night and early this morning," Neddenien said.

Mike Aulgur, of Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, said that almost all of its members who reported an outage had power restored.

"We have been very, very fortunate so far with this entire system," Aulgur said. "At our highest point last night we had 600 members without service, and those were mostly in the southern districts that we serve."

As of Monday, SVEC only had four members without service.

In other parts of the state, though, many are still going without power. Ann Lewis, of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, said Monday they have outages reported in Culpeper, Louisa, Rappahannock, Madison and Fauquier counties.

"Right now we have over a thousand members without power," she said.

At around midnight Monday morning, Lewis said, many REC members were reporting outages. According to a press release, as of Monday evening 6,300 members were still without power, and REC had already restored power for 7,200 others.

All available REC crews are working on restoring power to our members, Lewis said. Crews from several Georgia cooperatives have also been employed to restore power.

The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisory for snow for Tuesday morning, and Lewis said that it is too early to tell if the additional snow will impact the number of outages members are experiencing. The advisory is in effect from 3 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Neddenien said that the extra snow will almost certainly cause additional outages.

Many have not had power restored, Neddenien said, because the warmer temperatures melted the ice on the trees, causing them to readjust and knock out more power lines.

Aulgur said that fallen tree branches also caused many SVEC outages. They did not necessarily pull the power lines down, but they did trigger the protective device built into them. That device is designed to turn power off on contact as a safety measure.

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative reported that all except 221 of its members had restored power after 2,047 outages were reported at 11 a.m. Monday. The Associated Press reported that Appalachian Power was dealing with 2,560 outages.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com

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