Thousands of people in Virginia were without electricity Monday, two days after deadly tornadoes pummeled the southern United States.
Among the hardest hit areas was Gloucester County, where emergency responders have been working since late Saturday to restore power to thousands of people.
"We not only have equipment that's damaged, we have equipment that's gone," said Karl Neddenien, a spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power, the region's dominant electricity provider.
While the tornado's wind speeds had not been released Monday, gusts were strong enough to topple school buses, destroy houses and send utility poles flying into the air.
Three people died as a result of the twister, which began in Surry County, cut across James City County, and struck Gloucester and Deltaville before dissipating in the Chesapeake Bay.
On Monday, Dominion crews continued to clear debris, and install utility poles and transmission lines, Neddenien said.
He expected nearly all of Dominion's customers in Virginia and eastern North Carolina to have power by 10 p.m. Monday. It may take a few more days to reach outlying areas, he said.
At the height of the outages, more than 100,000 Dominion customers were without power, he said. The number had been trimmed to just over 2,000 by 5 p.m. Monday.
As many as 44,000 customers in Hampton Roads were without power on Saturday, but only a handful were waiting Monday afternoon for their service to be restored.
The National Weather Service, as of late Monday afternoon, had not said how strong the winds were in Gloucester; however, its website said damage is consistent with tornadoes that gust between 111 mph and 135 mph.
The twister struck the switchyard outside Surry Power Station on its way to Gloucester.
With no way to send electricity in or out of the nuclear power plant, it automatically shut down, Neddenien said. Backup generators kicked on to keep necessary systems, such as water pumps, functioning properly, Neddenien said.
No radioactive material — beyond what's released during normal operation — was emitted from the plant, he said. The plant's two reactor cores and nuclear waste storage casks are built to withstand the most extreme tornadoes, which can reach wind speeds up to 300 mph, he said.
Joey Ledford, a spokesman in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atlanta office, said Surry was the only nuclear power plant shuttered as a result of Saturday's violent weather.
He expects Dominion will have Surry back to normal in a few days.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times