GW suffers damage as Hurricane Michael hits Danville

A+house+near+Ballou+Park+is+crushed+by+a+fallen+tree+in+the+aftermath+of+Hurricane+Michael.+Businesses+and+homes+were+overcome+by+water+and+harsh+winds+uprooted+trees%2C+destroying+structures+and+power+lines.+More+than+20%2C000+customers+were+without+power+the+morning+of+Oct.+12+and+numerous+roads+closed.
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GW suffers damage as Hurricane Michael hits Danville

A house near Ballou Park is crushed by a fallen tree in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Businesses and homes were overcome by water and harsh winds uprooted trees, destroying structures and power lines. More than 20,000 customers were without power the morning of Oct. 12 and numerous roads closed.

A house near Ballou Park is crushed by a fallen tree in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Businesses and homes were overcome by water and harsh winds uprooted trees, destroying structures and power lines. More than 20,000 customers were without power the morning of Oct. 12 and numerous roads closed.

Contributed

A house near Ballou Park is crushed by a fallen tree in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Businesses and homes were overcome by water and harsh winds uprooted trees, destroying structures and power lines. More than 20,000 customers were without power the morning of Oct. 12 and numerous roads closed.

Contributed

Contributed

A house near Ballou Park is crushed by a fallen tree in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Businesses and homes were overcome by water and harsh winds uprooted trees, destroying structures and power lines. More than 20,000 customers were without power the morning of Oct. 12 and numerous roads closed.

Caitlin Towler, Staff Writer

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The devastation of Hurricane Michael reached across Virginia on Oct. 11 with Danville impacted drastically from mudslides to flood damage and fallen trees.

The storm slowly worked its way up from sprinkling rain to heavy downpours, with more than 70 inches of rain dumped on the city in just 90 minutes according to Danville Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator David Eagle.

Strong winds were soon to follow. As a result, the river flooded and roads and streets were overtaken by water. The city reported $8.7 million in damage according to the Danville Register and Bee, with $2.9 million in roads, parks, utilities and public buildings alone.

Businesses and homes were overcome by water and harsh winds uprooted trees, destroying structures and power lines. More than 20,000 customers were without power the morning of Oct. 12 and numerous roads closed.

“The basement was flooded with eight feet of water and three feet of mud and there is a major power grid there that could not be accessed until the waters were drained,” Principal Jay Lancaster said. “Additionally there was extensive damage to band equipment. We are still assessing the damage and trying to plan for what comes next.”

A press release from Public Information Director for the city Arnold Hendrix reported that the Dan River crested at 30.01 feet, which is more than a foot above the river crest of 28.65 feet during Hurricane Fran.

“The storm nearly flooded the downstairs of my house and it was a lot of work to get it cleaned up,” Senior Taylor Moorman said. “We lost our power for a day at around 7 p.m. the night of the storm and the power was turned back on after a day at 9 a.m.”

Danville schools were not immune to the destruction with all schools closed for four days and then George Washington High School closed an additional two days.

“Term grad testing had to be pushed back a week due to the lack of instruction time and currently most of the end of the semester SOL’s and make- up SOL’s are pushed back,” Lancaster said. “More are on the petition to be pushed back as well.”

The National Guard was deployed to Danville and several emergency shelters, including one at Bonner Middle School and the YMCA. Two deaths were reported as a result of the hurricane: William Lynn Tanksley, 53, and Jennifer Bjarnesen Mitchell, 60, both swept away by flood waters and later found.

“School can be made up and buildings can be repaired. We just want to focus on the students’ safety and bringing them back before it was 100 percent safe was just not an option,” Lancaster said. “From minor flooding to whole classes under water, there is a lot to be done to get the school back in shape for students but we are well on the way to getting GW back in working order.”

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg reported rainfall total for October 11 at 72 inches of rain, a new all-time daily rainfall record since records began in 1916.