As of 10 a.m. Appalachian Power estimated 142,000 people are without power in the southwest Virginia region, and at least one million in the Appalachian Virginia and West Virginia service area.
The Town of Blacksburg will open a cooling center at the Blacksburg Community Center at 725 Patrick Henry Drive, from 11 am until 8 pm and with temperatures expected to reach 100 degrees later today, weather forecasters are recommending people find neighbors or relatives to stay with in order to beat the heat. A cooling shelter has now been opened at Riverlawn Elementary School in Fairlawn. Officials at Blacksburg’s Weather Service said the wind gusts and storms associated with it are called “derecho” — a bowing line of storms that produces damaging winds over hundreds of miles.
The storm stretched from Ohio deep in the Mid-Atlantic.
Campers along the New River in McCoy were caught off guard when the high winds hit, toppling popup campers and knocking down tents. At least two people were injured when a downed tree hit a camper’s canopy. One person was taken to LewisGale Montgomery Hospital after being knocked unconscious.
A couple from Roanoke had been playing a board game with their children when a tree hit the picnic table where they were sitting. Pam Ruppel called the incident as crazy. “If our tent didn’t start flying away and we tried to catch it, we would have still been sitting at the table when the tree hit.”
On Mudpike Road in Christiansburg, three circus-sized tents for an outside auction were turned to rubble.