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Sandy spares Halifax County

Hurricane Sandy spared Halifax County residents this week having little to no impact on the area other than downing a few trees and knocking out power to 33 residences at the height of the storm Monday night.

Sandy gave students here a two-day reprieve from classes as Superintendent Merle Herndon closed schools Monday and Tuesday due to the predicted impact Sandy would have on the county as it made its way up the eastern seaboard. 

Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders said late Monday night a tree fell across the road on Highway 501 in the northern section of the county near Crescent Restaurant in Nathalie, and another small tree fell across Newton Farm Road in South Boston. 

However, all reported debris had been cleared by early Tuesday morning causing little travel problems, according to Saunders.

“We haven’t had any significant reports or damage at this point,” he said.

The emergency services coordinator urged residents to continue to report any significant damage to houses, vehicles or property and to remain cautious.

“The majority of the strong system is out of the area now, but residents should remain cautious for undiscovered debris,” added Saunders.

As of Tuesday morning Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and Virginia Dominion Power reported no outages in the county. However, Mecklenburg customers in Volens and Mt. Laurel reported outages early Monday night.

 “A total of 33 outages were reported in Halifax County,” said Brian Mosier of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.

The majority of outages in Halifax County were restored late Monday night and no outages had been reported Tuesday.

“We still have a few in Pittsylvania County in the Chatham area, but they should be back up shortly,” said Mosier.

Mosier credited fewer outages to an “aggressive program” put in place within the past year that cleared away dead trees from power lines.

According to Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller, power outages peaked statewide around midnight with 204,663 power outages. By 5 a.m. Monday, reported power outages were at 183,721 statewide.  The greatest increases in outages overnight were occurring in Northern and Southwest Virginia. Remaining outages were in Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore, Northern Neck and Southside Virginia.

Virginia State Police are investigating the cause of a crash in Charlotte County that claimed two lives Monday night. 

It is still being determined whether the crash was weather-related or not.

A 2007 Honda Civic was traveling west on Route 360 when it ran off the right side of the road. The car went down an embankment and struck a tree. The crash occurred at 10:45 p.m. on Route 360, less than a mile east of Route 710, according to Geller.

The driver of the car, Taylor D. Reeves, 22, of Dillwyn, died at the scene. She was not wearing a seat belt, Geller said. 

The passenger, Alec L. England, 24, of Drakes Branch, was transported to a Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville, where he later died. England was not wearing a seat belt either.

Governor Bob McDonnell asked Friday for a federal emergency declaration to help Virginia’s state and local governments and other agencies respond to and recover from the widespread impacts of Hurricane Sandy. 

The request for the federal public assistance program would make funding available to cover eligible costs for emergency protective measures and debris removal.

 “I don’t want to delay the process of getting federal Public Assistance to the local governments that need it,” said Governor McDonnell.  “This is a historic weather event – one we’ve never seen before – and we expect that there is going to be extensive debris and cost in responding to and recovering from this storm.”