Monday morning, locals woke up to a hefty layer of heavy snow. The kind of snow that’s perfect for hurling snowballs and building snowpeople. The kind of snow that demands careful shoveling. The kind of snow that snaps even the sturdiest trees and downs power lines with ease.

Tens of thousands of local folks also woke up Monday morning with no power. And while Dominion Energy, the largest provider of electricity to the area, says its crews are working around the clock, as of Thursday afternoon, more than 500 of its customers in Charlottesville, and more than 14,800 in Albemarle County, are still in the dark — and the cold. 

A few thousand other homes in the area, powered by the Central Virginia Energy Cooperative and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, are in the same chilly boat.

Altogether, that’s around 20,000 homes still without power three days after the storm…and with another on the way.

Yes, Virginia, there’s more snow in the forecast. Travis Koshko, chief meteorologist with CBS19 News, said that we can expect two to four more inches of snow (six to eight inches at higher elevations) Thursday night and into Friday morning. And the weekend will be frigid, with temperatures plummeting down into the teens on Saturday. We’re not just looking at snow, y’all. We’re looking at ice.

Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in advance of that second storm.

It’s a crisis on top of another crisis. The Blue Ridge Health District is reporting more COVID-19 cases than at any point throughout the pandemic so far, and as a result, fewer folks are able or willing to open their warm, heated homes to friends, family members, and neighbors. 

In a local mutual aid Facebook group, folks who can afford a hotel room say they are struggling to find open rooms. Some are running out of firewood, or propane. Others are asking for help shoveling out their elderly parents, or for rides to imperative doctor’s appointments, or advice on how to keep pipes from bursting.

There are community resources available for folks who need them. We’ve listed some of them here and will update this story with more information as it becomes available. 

We realize that this story may not reach everyone who needs this information. Charlottesville Tomorrow is an online news source, and folks are without power and internet connections right now, so, please share this information widely and directly with folks who might benefit from it.


 

For General Information: 

The Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Office of Regional Emergency Management has established a website and a phone line for up-to-date information on warming center locations, how to report a power outage or downed tree, and other resources:

Where to Get Warm:

As of Wednesday, two days after the storm, Albemarle County established three warming centers:

  • Baker-Butler Elementary School

2740 Proffit Road in Charlottesville (near Target and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport)

Services available: Showers, WiFi, electricity, spare chargers

Open 9am-6pm Thurs., Jan. 6, and Friday, Jan. 7

  • Greenwood Community Center

865 Greenwood Road, Crozet

Services available: WiFi, electricity

Open 9am-6pm Thurs., Jan. 6, and Friday, Jan. 7

  • Scottsville Community Center

250 Page Street, Scottsville

Services available: WiFi, electricity

Open 9am-6pm Thurs., Jan. 6, and Friday, Jan. 7

Per the County’s website, visitors to the warming centers must observe the COVID-19 protocols of masking and social distancing. The warming centers are not open overnight.

The centers are overseen in part by staff from Albemarle County’s Department of Social Services, who can answer additional questions and possibly point people in the direction of additional resources, if needed. 

A county social services employee said Thursday that there’s been a trickle of folks coming to the Baker-Butler station, some individuals and some families. As people have come through the doors of the elementary school, which is also stocked with snacks and bottled water, she’s heard anecdotally that some folks have been told they shouldn’t expect their power to come on until next week. For that reason, she said, the county is looking into keeping the warming stations open through the weekend.

Emily Kilroy, spokesperson for Albemarle County, said Thursday that since so many people in the county are still without power, and with more weather on the way, the county is likely to continue the warming stations for a few more days. She said that the county will announce that information as soon as it’s available, on its website, on social media, and the emergency phone line listed above, and will continue to monitor the weather and the outages map to help determine what sort of services the community needs at this time.

As of Thursday afternoon, the City of Charlottesville had not identified any warming centers within the city limits and is directing folks to the county centers, which, according to this service map, are not accessible by Charlottesville Area Transit (which itself is not fully operational at this time). 

David Dillehunt, the interim deputy director of communications for the city, said that the city, county, and UVA often take a collaborative approach when responding to major emergencies and disasters. 

“We often work regionally as a team to address the needs of the collective community,” he wrote in an email to Charlottesville Tomorrow. 

“Due to the pandemic and the high levels of community spread we are experiencing, we initially employed a shelter in place strategy. This is standard strategy even in non-pandemic times where the community is asked to be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours,” Dillehunt added. 

By the time the warming centers opened Wednesday afternoon (two days after the snow stopped falling), most of the city households’ power had been restored, and so the city is taking a case management approach to help those residents still in need, said Dillehunt. An approach the county can’t take on due to the sheer volume of remaining outages.

“As this event extended into multiple days and while monitoring the power restoration efforts,” said Dillehunt, “the areas identified with greatest need for warming centers geographically were in county facilities.”

Whether or not the city will open its own warming station depends on how heavily the county sites are used, as well as the power restoration progress, said Dillehunt. 

 

Folks can also go to the library.

Though not official “warming centers,” the eight Jefferson-Madison Regional Library branches are open regular hours as of Friday, Jan. 7. Find hours of operation, as well as specific information on each branch here.

“We have power and WiFi, a few branches have charging stations set up,” said JMRL spokesperson Jennifer MacAdam-Miller. The Northside Library branch, located at 750 W. Rio Road off of Rt. 29, has set up one of its meeting rooms with tables and power strips to provide some extra space for folks who need to work.

Throughout the week, community members have praised the library system on social media for offering some warmth, a place to fill water jugs, charge devices, hold crucial work meetings, and find a bit of book-based entertainment in the stacks.

If any branches need to close for any reason, JMRL will post to its website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, said MacAdam-Miller. No internet? Call 434-979-7151.

Where to Get Water

Drinking Water

  • Earlysville Fire Department
    283 Reas Ford Road,  Earlysville
    Potable water
  • North Garden Fire Department
    4907 Plank Road, North Garden
    Potable water

Agricultural/Non-Potable Water

  • Hollymead Fire Rescue (Station 12)
    3575 Lewis and Clark Drive
    Non-potable filling station
  • Scottsville Fire Department
    141 Irish Road, Scottsville
    Non-potable filling station

Track Your Outage: