Cold night for a power outage: Lights go dark for residents near Bowman’s Crossing

On one of the most frigid nights of the year so far, with temperatures sinking to as low as 12 degrees, 658 Shenandoah County electric customers near Bowman’s Crossing lost power Thursday for upward of 10 hours.

At 12:52 a.m. Thursday, according to a Dominion Energy spokesman, the electricity company had a piece of equipment fail and 1,389 customers lost power. Within a minute, Dominion was able to restore power to half of the customers, but power was not fully restored to the area until 11:16 a.m. Thursday.

The Conicville Volunteer Fire Department took to Facebook to offer shelter to those in need.

“Open invitation to all residents without electricity: Conicville Volunteer Fire Department is open to anyone needing a place to stay until electricity is restored. Any questions please call 540.477.2787. Please check on your elderly Neighbors! And as always, please share!” read a post on the department’s page.

“We had just seen, like on Facebook, so many people were posting that they’re out of power,” said Tarinda Showman, president of the Conicville Fire Department. “We just thought we would offer to anybody that wanted to come.”

Ultimately no one took advantage of Conicville’s offer of a warm room and hot showers, but Showman was happy the department had made the offer nonetheless.

“A lot of the people that live in those areas support our department,” Showman said. “They come to our fundraisers, like our carnival or our steak dinners, and anything we can do to give back to the people that support us and make our department successful, we want to do.”

The department’s Facebook page also lists tips for the cold weather, including a list of emergency items to keep in the car: coat, warm shoes and socks, hat, gloves, blanket, flashlight, and bottles of water.

The frigid weather that recently enveloped the area is unseasonably cold but not unprecedented, said Mike Muccilli, meteorologist for the National Weather Service on Thursday.

“It is very cold. It’s not record-breaking,” Muccilli said. “We haven’t had any records (broken) yet, but the temperatures today are 20 degrees below normal.”

There’s not much chance of snow accumulating in the area over the next few days, Muccilli said, despite flurries this morning and potentially an inch or less of snow sticking from tonight into Saturday morning.

“The more remarkable thing is just that it doesn’t look like it’s going to break until well into the new year. We’ll just see continued shots of this colder weather,” Muccilli said.

The Dominion Energy spokesman Rayhan Daudani said that electricity consumption increases in the winter, and as a precaution the company has emergency response personnel on standby. To prevent power surges after an outage, the Dominion Energy recommends turning off major appliances.

“One thing we’d like all customers to do during an outage is to turn off major appliances such as heat pumps and electric stoves. This will help prevent a spike when power is restored,” Daudani stated in an email. “Instead, leave a few obvious lights in the ‘on’ position so you will know when the power is back. Then, once the power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning these appliances back on.”

Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office received no calls for service regarding the outage Thursday.