Thunderstorm knocks out power to more than 160K in Virginia

A group of volunteers, right, help a truck driver, standing on top of truck, left, move a large tree limb that had become wedged between the tractor and the trailer of his truck in downtown Richmond, on Friday after a storm the night before downed trees and cut power to thousands in the area. (Bob Brown /Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

RICHMOND (AP) — A severe thunderstorm with heavy rains downed trees and knocked out power to more than 160,000 customers in Virginia.

The damage and outages prompted Richmond and Henrico County public schools to cancel classes Friday.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Bryan Jackson says the weather service received eye-witnesses reports of a tornado near Berryville in Clarke County about 6 p.m. Thursday. He says storm surveys would be conducted Friday to determine whether there was a tornado.

Jackson says the weather service received reports of large hail up to the size of baseballs.

Dulles International Airport received 2.82 inches of rain Thursday, breaking a 1974 record of 1.78 inches. Jackson says data show that 2 inches fell there in just 20 minutes.

In the Northern Shenandoah Valley, as of 7:30 a.m. Friday, roughly 3,000 members of the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative were without power, according to a news release.  Later in the day, it was reported that power had been restored to about 85 percent of the members who lost power, still leaving 1,700 members without power. At the peak of the storm, the cooperative reported 11,000 were without power.
Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative reported that there were about 3,000 members without power at the peak of the storm.
Northern Virginia Daily staff reporter Nathan Budryk contributed to this report.