Storm creates mess in Ridgeway, leaves thousands without power

Several hundred people still without power Friday afternoon

RIDGEWAY, Va. – People impacted by Thursday night's severe storm said with as much damage as the storm caused they are thankful no one was hurt.

"I just heard the wind come through. It was howling real loud and stuff," said Henry County resident Wesley Wright.

That's how he described Thursday night's storm that snapped or uprooted dozens of trees in and around Ridgeway and brought down numerous power lines.

Friday morning, Wright was driving up and down Cox Road checking on his family members.

"Dog kennel down here in the woods, truck bed, and tin come off the building down yonder," said Wright as he surveyed the damage at a family member's home.

He lost power at his home around 7:30 p.m. Thursday and it didn't come back on until just before 5 a.m. Friday.

When the storm came through, he said he got in his bed and rode it out.

Jonathan Cox was at work when the storm hit.

On his way home, he had to stop and cut up some trees that had fallen and blocked the road to his house.

"(I) got to the top of the hill, first tree down. The farther I come this way, more trees down. The creek out of the banks. It was just devastating," Cox said.

The shed in his backyard was partially blown off its foundation and his roof now has a hole in it.

"(It's) terrifying knowing that I have a new house and it's already been damaged," said Cox.

He was one of about 3,000 people who lost power during the storm.

The power lines along Morgan Ford Road that provide the power were all down Friday.

He said he and his family have plenty of food and water, but may go to a hotel until the power comes back on.

Other residents questioned the decision for Henry County Schools to remain open Friday given all of the debris on the roads.

Henry County Schools' communication director, Monica Adams-Hatchett, said district officials had been monitoring the storm all night Thursday and were in constant contact with emergency officials and VDOT in order to make sure the roads were safe.

She also emphasized that students may have actually been safer by being at school.

"We know that a lot of our students rely on school breakfast and lunch, so we want to make sure we can provide that at any possible opportunity. When the power's out at home, it's hard for them to have nutritious food available to them," Hatchett said.

"So (often) we find that students are safer at school."

As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, Appalachian Power was reporting about 400 customers still without power.

Cox said he and other residents were told Friday morning not to expect their power back on until Sunday.

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