Area slammed by prolonged, dangerous winds

As the wind died, commercial tree service crews and private property owners began clearing trees, limbs and storm debris. Above, Donald Payne cuts trees blocking a White Stone driveway. Photo by Audrey Thomasson

by Audrey Thomasson

LANCASTER—Damaging winds from Winter Storm Riley, a nor’easter that slammed the East Coast Friday, left destruction across the Northern Neck.

Gusts of 70 miles per hour caused accidents involving tractor trailers on both the Robert O. Norris Jr. Memorial Bridge at White Stone and the Thomas Downing bridge in Tappahannock. The closures forced travelers wanting to cross the Rappahannock River to commute the additional distance on Routes 3 and 17 to Route 301 at Port Royal.

Prolonged high winds downed trees and fences, stripped shingles from roofs of houses and businesses and knocked out power to some 690,000 Dominion Energy customers across the state and 6,500 Northern Neck Electric Cooperative customers.

Friday evening, Lancaster County joined Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in declaring a state of emergency…