Charlottesville must have angered the gods because yesterday we had one hell of a storm!
Yesterday, Charlottesville experienced what the meteorology world calls a microburst. And it was the second microburst experienced by the Charlottesville area in less than three weeks!
I was driving from work to pick up Ben so that we could go to my Team in Training Batesville Store fundraiser. Ben works in the heart of downtown Charlottesville which was the hardest hit area, so lucky me got caught in the middle of the maelstrom that came out of nowhere.
I was driving and chatting with my brother on the phone when I heard a message from the Emergency Broadcast System come on the radio. I knew a storm was coming because I saw dark clouds and heard thunder, but I just expected it to be a quick passing summer storm so I didn’t pay too much attention. Less than two minutes later, rain started pounding, large branches started beating my car, and huge tree limbs were blocking parts of the road. I barely had time to turn on my windshield wipers when I heard a loud popping noise on my right. There was a huge burst of flames from a power line in the field next to where I was driving. I quickly put down the phone (the storm had already ended my call for me) and started to inch my way through torrential downpours, strong winds, and falling trees.
When I was almost to Ben’s office building, I heard another loud popping noise, this time on my left. This one was even louder and came with a flash of blue light that scared the shit out of me! I believe it was a transformer blowing. When I got to Ben’s office parking lot, the storm was starting to die down, but the parking lot was covered in trees and a downed power line.
Ben and I spent the next two hours driving around Charlottesville trying to find a way to Batesville, and then giving up on the fundraiser and trying to get home. Traffic was terrible because of power outages affecting traffic lights, trees blocking roads and intersections, and power lines down everywhere. We saw one tree that had a root system at least 10 to 15 feet in diameter that had been uprooted and was leaning against a house. We saw a light post that had been broken from its pole and was dangling near a power line. We saw several trees and power line poles snapped in half.
I’ve never seen so much damage and I grew up were hurricanes and tornadoes are a common occurrence.
When we FINALLY got home, we were surprised to see the large poplar tree that is usually staring back at as through our fourth story windows on the ground. We have worried about this tree falling and damaging our building many times in the past, but I am glad it is finally no longer a threat and did not hurt anything or anyone in its demise.
Here are some pictures of the tree’s final resting place:
I’m glad that everyone I know was not hurt and we all came out alive and safe, but I’m still wondering what is with all this crazy weather: 2 large snow storms in December and February each totaling more than 2 feet of snow, 2 microbursts in June that have caused tons of damage, and a June heatwave that I’ve never seen in Virginia!
If you’d like to check out more pictures from the storm, they can be found here.