Windy city this weekend
Published 9:39 pm Friday, March 2, 2018
A nor’easter along the East Coast has been pounding Hampton Roads with strong wind gusts since Friday morning.
Suffolk residents on Friday witnessed emergency trucks throughout the city for downed power lines. Bins fell over and sent trash sprawling along roads. Even opening and closing car doors became difficult.
“It’s tolerable at times, but sometimes you feel like it’s going to blow you away,” Debbie Henson said on Friday as she loaded grocery bags into her car at the Walmart on North Main Street.
Email newsletter signup
Wind gusts were reported as high as 70 miles per hour Friday morning in Accomack County and Chesapeake, according to according to Eswar Iyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.
High winds forced the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to close Friday morning. It was closed off and on throughout the day, operating with high restrictions even when open.
Iyer said the wind gusts are expected to decrease steadily throughout the weekend.
“We could still see gusts in the Hampton Roads area [Saturday] around 40 miles per hour, and a little bit less on Sunday,” he said in a phone interview.
Sea levels are expected to remain high until next week. Iyer said forecasts predicted 15-foot waves for the coast.
“The storm’s low-pressure system is going to be well off-shore, but it’s such a large system that we’re going to see the effects of it for a few more days, especially with the waves’ heights,” he said.
More than 410,000 Virginians were without power as of Friday, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Fires associated with downed power lines and storm damage were reported, along with property damages and road closures caused by fallen trees.
“Gusting winds of 50 to 70 miles per hour are expected to continue through large parts of Virginia throughout Saturday, causing additional damage, power outages, and road closures,” per vaemergency.gov.
More than 224,00 Dominion Energy customers were without power on Friday, mainly in the northern part of the state, where wind gusts nearing 70 miles per hour were reported, according to the press release. Nearly 3,000 restoration workers were deployed across the state.
Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk is closed to all foot and vehicle traffic due to a number of downed trees caused by heavy winds, according to a city press release. The closure is expected to last until about Wednesday.
“The closure is necessary to repair damages and to prevent injury as further damages may occur while there are still gusts of high winds,” according to the release.
The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for Suffolk through Saturday morning. The maximum wind gust for the Suffolk area during this storm was 51 miles per hour as of Friday afternoon.