The tens of thousands of people without power in southeastern Virginia as a result of Tropical Storm Michael might not get the lights turned back on until after the weekend, officials said.
Roughly 84,000 homes were in the dark Friday afternoon after Michael swept through overnight, according to the energy company’s website.
That included more than 120 schools, according to a tweet from Dominion. All schools in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Portsmouth are closed.
Schools will be a priority to get power back on before Monday, Dominion wrote in a news release. The vast majority of customers will have power restored by the end of the day Monday, according to the release.
Elsewhere in Virginia the storm took a worse toll, killing five people in the state and dropping at least seven confirmed tornadoes. The fatalities included two people in the Richmond region—one from a car crash and one in a drowning—and three drownings in the western part of the state, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
The seven tornadoes included one in the Norge area of James City County, one in the Jamaica area of Middlesex County, two in Gloucester County, and three more outside of the Richmond area—one in New Kent, one in Amelia and another in Nottoway.
According to a tweet from James City County, no one was injured from the Norge tornado but 32 homes were damaged in the county by the passing storm. Officials estimate damage to be at $1.8 million.
“We were blessed yet again,” said Jim Redick, Norfolk’s director of emergency preparedness and response.
In Hampton Roads, the power outages included more than 34,000 customers in Virginia Beach, plus 11,000 in Norfolk, 14,000 in Chesapeake, 10,000 in Portsmouth and about 3,000 in Suffolk. The Peninsula was also without power: about 19,000 customers in Hampton, 17,000 in James City County, 19,000 in Newport News, 2,000 in Williamsburg and 15,000 in York.
As of 11 a.m. Dominion restored service to more than 200,000 of the more than half-million who lost power, according to a news release. More than 6,000 personnel were out in force and will work around the clock until all service is restored, the release said.
“We want people to be prepared for multiday outages,” said Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Billingsley Harris.
She said the outages were mostly due to downed trees and tree limbs. Crews responded to emergency calls and critical needs first.
Sustained winds Thursday night reached 37 miles per hour with gusts up to 67 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. A high wind warning remains in effect for southeast Virginia, North Carolina and the Eastern Shore.
Power lines crisscrossed the 700 block of Carolina Avenue in Norfolk’s Colonial Place neighborhood Friday morning. A tree fell across Aurthur Bookert’s front yard and into the street, taking several lines down with it.
Bookert said he was inside on the computer when the tree fell, shortly after midnight, causing a transformer to blow. He’s lived in the home for 22 years, he said, and has never had a tree fall so close to his home.
“We were planning to cut this one down soon,” he said. “But the wind took care of that for us.”
Building materials littered roadways and sidewalks near Waterside, spanning from Union Street to Town Point Park.
Norfolk crews did an assessment Friday morning and will continue doing so to identify downed trees and limbs, but they are no impeding roadways, he said. Residents can report downed trees in the roadway to the city but are responsible for their own property.
In Virginia Beach, approximately 40 traffic signals were out due to power issues. Crews worked to clear debris from roads and monitored flooded roads in the southern part of the city as the tide subsided in Back Bay and the North Landing River.
“High water” signs were posted along some area roadways.
“If you don’t have to go through, you should turn around and find another route,” said Drew Lankford, a public works spokesman.
On the Outer Banks, widespread soundside flooding sent water over roads and property, especially from Avon northward.
South winds on the east side of Michael pushed between 2 and 4 feet of water into much of Dare County, said emergency management director Drew Pearson. Several limbs and trees fell onto the roads, but there were no reports of serious injuries.
The flooding was worse in many places than it was after Hurricane Florence, said Mary Beth Newns, emergency management coordinator for Currituck County. A downed tree on Northwest Backwoods Road near Moyock caused a vehicle accident, Newns said. She had not heard of any serious injuries.
The hope was the water would recede soon as the wind shifts to the west, Pearson said.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel had been closed due to high winds for several hours, but opened with level 4 wind restrictions. Winds were in excess of 60 miles per hour.
The only types of vehicles allowed to cross were cars without exterior cargo, pick-up trucks without cargo, mini-vans, and SUVs. Maximum safe speed was 45 mph. Complimentary district-operated wind vans will be provided to assist in transporting exterior cargo that would otherwise restrict passenger cars and pickups.