Neighbors watched wind snap power poles: ‘Crack, crack, and a boom’

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HANOVER COUNTY, Va. - Jimmy Dinsmore watched Monday’s storm roll in as he chatted with a neighbor outside their Hanover homes. The sky darkened and the first gust blew in violently and snapped four power poles near Dinsmore’s house.

“Coming from the west, and I mean [the wind] smacked. It sounded like 10 school buses hitting the same target at one time. You could hear a crack, crack, and a boom,” Dinsmore said.

The ensuing power outage caused by the downed poles caused one of the largest outages in the Richmond metro area. At the peak Monday night, more than 50,000 Dominion Energy customers were in the dark in Central Virginia.

By Monday afternoon, the number of outages hovered around 1,000. Dominion said most of the outages caused by Monday’s windstorm are expected to be restored by Tuesday night with the exception of certain areas in Richmond and Midlothian, where the power company said restoration would extend into Wednesday morning.

Dinsmore said the charged situation he witnessed got even more dangerous when the wind continued to blow.

“When the lines started moving in the wind, they were touching and sparks were flying left and right,” Dinsmore said.

His wife immediately reported the problem, and they moved back. Dominion said immediate reporting and keeping your distance from downed lines is the best course of action.

You can’t tell if a power line is energized by looking. If the power line is energized, the tree may be energized too. Call 1-866-DOM-HELP to report downed wire. False reporting delays restoration and can put people in harm’s way, so please only report downed wire if you see it.

Initially, Dinsmore said the power company estimated their power would not be restored for a couple of days; however, by the time his daughter returned from school Tuesday, crews had fixed the downed poles and restored his power.

“We were very lucky and very grateful to have it back by then because it’s starting to get hot out here!” he said.

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