Severe storms cause damage, knock out power for at least 2,000 in the Valley

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Severe storms passing through the Shenandoah Valley have knocked out power to over two thousand people on Thursday afternoon and caused a range of damage.

Photo of a tree down across State Road 602 | submitted to WHSV by Eddie Breeden

Photos sent to WHSV of the storm and its effects can be found at the bottom of this article.

The Storms

According to WHSV's First Alert Storm Team, heavy rain exited the area between 5-6 pm. Our entire viewing area was under a flash flood watch early in the afternoon. That led to a flash flood warning later for areas being hit especially hard, like Pendleton and Grant counties, which just recently finished cleaning up flooding from earlier this month.

Weather stations have reported wind gusts of 30-40 miles per hours.

Parts of the Valley already saturated with rain are especially prone to flash flooding, with torrential rainfall from storms possibly totaling about two inches in a very short amount of time on Thursday.

A McGaheysville weather watcher had already reported two inches of rain with it still falling by 4:45 p.m.

Damage Reports

As of 5:40 p.m., reports of damage included a lightning strike hitting a home in Greenville and a tree down on East Point Rd. in Elkton, as well as a tree down on Indian Trail Rd. (Rt. 602) near its intersection with Route 33. There have been a number of other reports of trees down and lightning strikes which WHSV is working to confirm.

Firefighters told WHSV that they could confirm lightning struck a house in Greenville, coming through a cable, but the home sustained only minor damage and no fire was sparked. Everyone inside was alright.

In Waynesboro, a tree limb caught fire by a downed power line along Red Top Orchard Road, closing the road.

What did not happen in Waynesboro, however, was what many people on Facebook thought was a tornado.

Power Outages

As of 5:40 he Shenandoah Valley Electric Co-op reported 792 total outages, including about 93 in Augusta County, 28 in Rockingham County, around 247 in Page County, and 446 in Shenandoah County.

For Dominion customers, the numbers are worse: 100 outages reported in Augusta County, 190 in Lexington, 163 in Rockingham County, 328 in Shenandoah County, 10 in Staunton (down from an initial 287), and 1,093 in Waynesboro.

According to a social media post, Route 11 Potato Chips is among those working without power. They say the storm "knocked out the electricity in the middle of production, and left us with only the glow of our IPad cash register."

The Roads

While there is no way at this point to prove these were weather-related, crashes had southbound Rt. 11 closed near Lacey Spring Rd. in Rockingham County and near Artz Rd. in Shenandoah County as of 5:15 p.m., and southbound I-81 at MM 198 in Rockbridge County.

As of 5:35 p.m., most had cleared, and the following closures remained due to crashes or disabled vehicles:

• The northbound right shoulder of I-81 at MM 233.4
• All southbound lanes of Rt. 11 near Lacey Spring Rd. in Rockingham County
• The southbound right shoulder of I-81 at MM 280.3 in Shenandoah County

If you come across a flooded roadway, remember: Turn Around, Don't Drown.

A number of crashes, possibly related to weather, have also caused various closures and delays on Interstate 81 and Route 11. With torrential rain falling, slow down, make sure your lights are on – your blinkers if necessary – and pull over if you're uncomfortable driving.

WHSV has a reporter dispatched to one reported crash along Route 11.

Lightning strikes while Penny Edwards snaps a photo looking toward Cross Keys Vineyard
A home in Greenville was struck by lightning on the afternoon of July 11, 2019, but suffered only minor damage and everyone inside was uninjured.
The storm over Port Republic | photo submitted to WHSV by John Oakes
Photo submitted to WHSV by Angel Edmond of sparks flying from power lines along Red Top Orchard Rd. in Waynesboro after storms knocked the lines into trees.