Repair crews scrambled Sunday to restore electrical outages caused by Saturday night’s combination of wind and rain.
Storm damage knocked out power to an estimated 37,000 customers in an area stretching from Bedford County into West Virginia and southwest into Tennessee, Appalachian Power reported, but many of those customers had their electricity back by mid-afternoon Sunday.
Emergency dispatchers in the Roanoke and New River valleys said most storm damage was from fallen trees.
Remaining power outages in Roanoke and the counties around it and in the New River Valley were scheduled to be restored by late Sunday night, Appalachian Power spokeswoman Theresa Hamilton Hall said.
“We weren’t hit as hard in the Roanoke area as we were in other parts of our service area,” Hall said.
Hall said that shortly after 4 p.m., there were 3,900 customers in Virginia still without electricity. That included 439 customers in the company’s Roanoke district, 138 in the Pulaski area, and 111 in the Pilot and Riner areas of Montgomery and Floyd counties, Hall said.
Also, 200 customers in Lynchburg still had no power, Hall said.
Besides knocking down trees, the windy thunderstorms broke utility poles and equipment, prompting Appalachian Power to bring 50 line workers from North Carolina to help with repairs in far Southwest Virginia and around Kingsport, Tennessee, and 60 workers from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to assist crews in West Virginia, Hall said.
In the hardest hit areas, including Virginia’s Scott, Smyth and Washington counties, and parts of West Virginia and Tennessee, restoration work probably would stretch into Monday night, Hall said.
The U.S. National Weather Service in Blacksburg blamed Saturday’s weather on a combination of spring-like temperatures and strong southerly winds from the Gulf.
The weather service said Saturday’s 1.32 inches of rain was a record for Jan. 11, as was the high temperature of 67 degrees.
The mark of 67 degrees also tied the high temperature record for Roanoke.