- Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 18:02
- Published on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 18:02
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Hurricane Irene roared across King George and the Northern Neck, creating power outages from downed trees and flying limbs across power lines, but the overall damage to most residential property was less than what the area experienced from Hurricane Isabel eight years ago. However, there was considerable damage to the area’s two state park facilities, Westmoreland State Park and Caledon Natural Area.
As of The King George Journal’s Tuesday deadline, Northern Neck Power reported a total of 655 King George County residents without power and 3,505 still out of power in Westmoreland County. Dominion Power outages total about 4,600 customers for the two-county area.
All evacuees at the King George High School shelter have now left and King George County’s emergency operations center is no longer activated. Approximately 40 people sought shelter during the storm, according to King George Fire and Rescue Chief David Moody.
Damage from downed trees was widespread. King George County emergency personnel removed more than 100 trees
blocking roadways. There were also two reports of trees on house structures, three storm-related motor vehicle accidents reported and two medical emergencies in King George.
Hwy. 301 north in King George County was actually shut down during the storm as a tree fell near the Masonic Lodge. There was also traffic stoppage on Hwy 218 and Millbank Road as well as other roads and neighborhood streets.
Statewide, the Virginia State Police reported on traffic fatality from the storm as well as 330 motor vehicle accidents. Sgt. Thomas Molnar, VSP spokesman, said that there were a total of 45 people injured in those accidents.
The 23-county Division I headquarters of the state police, of which King George, Westmoreland and the majority of the Northern Neck area are a part of, recorded most of the vehicular accidents. More than 600 calls for assistance were also recorded for either accidents, stranded automobiles, personal and property damage were also received by the Division I headquarters.
But while there was less damage to area residential homes and businesses in comparison to the last major hurricane the area suffered, there was significant damage to two state parks in the greater King George and Westmoreland County region —Caledon Natural Area and Westmoreland State Park.
Ken Benson, Westmoreland State Park manager, reported “more than 500 big trees are down in the park.”
“We’ve had extensive damage,” he said. “We’re just now getting areas cleared so we can have access to our roadways.
The stormed wiped out seven or eight cabins, two of them completely damaged. It looked like a tornado went through here with about six acres of trees completely down.”
Other damage in the area resulted mostly from trees crashing into outbuilding structures or automobiles.