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Tree said to be oldest in SoBo falls victim to severe storm

Hollis and Reagan Cannon didn’t see it coming, but the pair of South Boston residents certainly heard it, as a tree, residents say was one of the oldest and largest trees in South Boston, was uprooted Thursday afternoon during a severe storm that swept through Halifax County.

Reagan Cannon said she was upstairs in her home at 1013 Marshall St. when the tree came down.

“It fell right before it started raining.  The whole house shifted four or five times,” she said.

The base of the tree — a red oak — measured approximately 6 to 6 1/2 feet wide and was measured at 147 feet tall.

Miraculously, the tree fell in a direction in which it just missed crashing down on the rear of the house and a garage.

“It fell perfectly in the backyard,” Hollis Cannon added.

The storm cut power to approximately 2,500 county residents, according to Halifax County Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders, with a number of reports coming through after the storm had passed.

There were no reports of injuries and structural damage resulting from the storm, Saunders added on Friday, although a brick veneer at Brooks Funeral Home collapsed during the storm.

Dominion Virginia Power reported early Friday afternoon that power had been restored to 70 percent of 283,000 customers statewide who were affected by the windstorm.

Restoration work should be completed for all customers by Saturday night, spokesperson Karl Neddenien said.

The greatest amount of power outages were reported in the Meadville, Nathalie and Liberty communities, and there were multiple reports of downed trees throughout the area, Saunders said.

L. P. Bailey Memorial Highway, and Chatham Road from Asbury Church Road to the county line had a number of downed trees, according to Saunders.

Isolated power outages also occurred in the East Hyco Road and the Virgilina areas.

There were some broken poles needing replacement, according to Saunders, who took advantage of social media to warn residents the storm was approaching.

“We knew the storm was hitting during the afternoon commute, and we were able to give updates to keep residents informed of road blockages,” Saunders said.

An emergency operations center was set up to monitor the storm, Saunders explained, and it operated from 2 to 7 p.m.

As bad as the storm was, it could have been worse, he added.

Emergency Operations Center opened from 2 to 7 p.m.

“It was similar to last year’s storm, but we’ve been watching it all week,” said Saunders.

“National Weather Service advised about 1 p.m. Thursday Halifax County had been moved from a slight risk for severe weather to a moderate risk. It definitely could have been much worse.”