UPDATED Thursday 3:00 pm:  Appalachian Power’s web site says almost all customers who lost service in Sunday’s tornado should have that service restored by midnight Thursday. As of mid-afternoon, the utility showed about 400 Lynchburg customers still in the dark and another 42 in Amherst County.

From Lynchburg City:  Approximately 300 AEP customers are still without power in the City of Lynchburg. According to AEP, power should be restored to Link Road by 5:00 p.m. this evening, and the road will reopen at that time.

On Saturday, April 21, Lynchburg City employees are showing their love for the Lynchburg community by volunteering to assist residents impacted by the recent tornado.  Between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon, employee volunteers will assist residents by helping them bring storm debris and brush to the curb for later pickup.  This volunteer effort is for storm-related assistance only.

Elon (Photo: State Police)

Residents in need of this assistance are asked to call the City’s Citizens First Customer Service Center at (434) 856-2489, by 12 noon Friday, April 20.  Residents in need of this assistance are asked to call the City’s Citizens First Customer Service Center at (434) 856-2489, by 12 noon Friday, April 20.  Residents may also go online and enter the information at www.lynchburgva.gov/tornado (name, contact information and location) after business hours (5:00 p.m. – 8:30 a.m.). Please note that volunteers are not able to work in areas where large, heavy equipment is operating and are only volunteering in areas damaged by the storm.

Damages are currently estimated at over $8 million. Over 330 buildings have suffered some form of damage and of that number, 59 have major damage and 32 have been condemned.  Assessments are continuing.

Refuse Collection – Refuse collection along side streets of Link Road (between Parkland Drive and Hurdle Hill Road) could not be completed today because of AEP operations. As soon as refuse collection can proceed, trucks will return to these streets:

Parkland Drive                                    Ivy Drive

Woodside Avenue                              Overlink Court

Surrey Place                                        Otterview Place

Willow Lawn Drive

Concord Turnpike Convenience Center to Extend Hours – The Convenience Center located at 2525 Concord Turnpike, will operate extended hours to assist with the disposal of brush and storm debris. In addition to its regular Tuesday through Saturday hours, the Center will also open on Sunday, April 22 and Monday, April 23, 5:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Residents are reminded that brush may be taken to the Convenience Center free of charge, and there is no limit.  Other types of materials are subject to the 500-lb. free per calendar month limit. Contractors must take loads to the landfill at 361 Livestock Road in Rustburg.  There is a charge there.  

“Love Where You Live!” Cleanup Event – On Saturday, April 21, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Lynchburg residents are encouraged to participate in the “Love Where You Live!” Community Cleanup Event. To participate in the city-wide clean, residents can come to the Public Works Complex located at 1700 Memorial Avenue for an assigned location, safety vests, litter grabbers, gloves and orange bags. Residents may also drop off old tires at this location (no more than ten tires per resident). To participate in the neighborhood cleanup, residents may pick up equipment at one of the participating community centers. These locations will also have resource tables, exhibits, etc.

4Daniel’s Hill Community Center, 317 Norwood Avenue
4Diamond Hill Community Center, 1005 17th Street
4Fairview Community Center, 3621 Campbell Avenue
4Yoder Community Center, 109 Jackson Street
PREVIOUSLY FROM AMHERST COUNTY: The National Weather Service has updated its assessment of the tornado that struck the Elon area. It has now been identified as a category F3 (150 mph winds). At this time, 289 buildings have been inspected; 166 structures/homes have now been reported as damaged; 23 categorized as restricted use; 22 are severely damaged or counted as total losses (unsafe – red placard); 123 in the same area(s) remain unaffected. Building assessments will continue throughout the week. The dollar loss in the county is now estimated at $4,444,114.87.

ALSO FROM AMHERST COUNTY: Over 500 volunteers have already signed up to serve, with buses transporting registered volunteers to clean-up sites today. Officials thank the community for this tremendous outpouring for support. At this time, on-site clean-up needs are being met. After 6:00 p.m. today, organizers will cease coordinated volunteer management as a majority of the work is being completed. Officials will monitor for any additional needs and allocate volunteer resources accordingly. Please do not self-deploy to storm-affected sites.

Appalachian Power expects to complete almost all service restoration by midnight Wednesday, but the utility is not yet offering a timetable for a few specific areas. Apco says a transmission line from the Peakland/Rivermont Station in Lynchburg was heavily damaged, and customers in that area will have to wait longer, as will those in the Abert and Elon communities.

EARLIER FROM AMHERST COUNTY: Appalachian Power expects to have service back by midnight tomorrow to 95% of all customers affected by Sunday’s tornado. But the utility now says some areas will have to wait longer. Apco officials say downed trees and debris have made access especially difficult in the Rivermont/Peakland area of Lynchburg and Abert and Elon communities of Amherst County. The utility does not have an estimated time frame yet for all service to be restored there.

Virginia officials say the state is committed to helping those impacted by Sunday’s tornado to receive all state assistance possible, as soon as possible. Brian Moran is Virginia’s Secreatary of Public Safety and Homeland Security:

04-17 Moran Bite-WEB

He spoke at a news conference today in Amherst County, where officials put the number of homes destroyed or significantly damaged at 102, the dollar loss to homes and business at $7.5 million — and still counting.

The National Weather Service says it has confirmed an EF2 tornado touched down in Amherst and Campbell Counties with winds reaching 130 mph. A survey was conducted of the damage that impacted northwest Campbell County, the City of Lynchburg, and southern Amherst County, and confirmed a tornado with 20.4 mile long path length, with maximum winds speeds of 130 mph. This puts the tornado at the high end of the EF2 scale.

In Amherst County, a total of 102 structures/homes have now been reported damaged after assessment; 21 are severely damaged or counted as total losses.  The dollar loss is estimated to be around $3,685,000. Officials ask residents to remember that the 4 p.m. burn ban remains in effect. Any burning must be conducted within local/state fire codes. Only natural debris/vegetation can be burned.

A community meeting for those impacted by the storm will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17 at Elon Baptist Church, 145 Younger Drive, Madison Heights, VA 24572. Local officials will be present to provide updated information and to answer residents’ questions.

Officials would like to thank the community for their outpouring of support. However, at this time, monetary donations are only being accepted through the Gleaning for the World Organization – 7539 Stage Road, Concord, VA 24538; phone 434-993-3600. https://gftw.org. Donations of newly purchased/packaged items, packaged food, or bottled water will also be accepted at Sam’s Club in Lynchburg tomorrow and Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Campbell County officials say Timberlake Road is open again from Laxton Road by Lowe’s to Waterlick Road. But you man encounter traffic lights that area not yet working. If that happens and there is no one directing traffic, you should treat the intersection as a four-way stop. That is the hardest-hit part of the county, with 15 to 20 commercial buildings and some nearby homes reporting damage.

Lynchburg City Schools will be closed for a second day as a result of Sunday’s severe storm damage.

From Appalachian Power: With the exception of areas with extreme and/or isolated damage, the goal is to restore power by midnight Wednesday to customers in Lynchburg, Amherst and Campbell County. In the Lovingston area, the goal is Tuesday, 6 p.m. For all other areas, restoration is expected by midnight tonight. Appalachian Power reported more than 14,000 customers remained without service  late this morning in Lynchburg, Campbell County and Amherst County. In Lynchburg alone, the number topped 10,000 — more than one-quarter of all customers in the city.

Va. (AP) _ Virginia’s governor has declared a state of emergency after storms ripped through parts of western Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted Monday that he made the declaration “to help local and state agencies respond to damage” from Sunday night’s storms in the Lynchburg and Danville areas.

A large-scale cleanup and recovery effort is underway across hard-hit parts of the Lynchburg region, but it is immediately clear that in some places, it has a long way to go.

Campbell County officials say there was no serious structural damage to any county school buildings. Some will need roof repairs, and some athletic field structures like dugouts will require some workas well, but the all school buildings are structurally unaffected.

Lynchburg officials say the city has received an outpouring of offers from volunteers to assist with the storm cleanup, and while the offers are appreciated, the city is not requesting volunteers. One main reason: there are fallen trees, debris and downed power lines that may be live, and only trained crews should be present to deal with such situations.

Lynchburg Police report an officer was struck by a vehicle Sunday night while directing traffic in the aftermath of yesterday’s severe storms. Police say James Goggins was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital for treatment of injuries described as non-life threatening. Goggins was directing traffic at Timberlake and Old Graves Mill Roads when he was hit. Police ask drivers to be careful when approaching intersections with power and to be on the lookout for first responders, city workers and utility personnel dealing with storm damage.

Amherst County Public Safety officials are asking people to stay away from the Elon area, which was especially hard hit by Sunday’s storms. Photographs show severe damage in a residential area. Officials say additional traffic gets in the way of recovery efforts. In addition, public safety officials say they do not need any further donations at the command post or emergency shelter.

EARLIER: A powerful storm caused extensive damage in parts of the Lynchburg area Sunday evening. Close to 19,000 Appalachian Power customers were without service at one point, and Lynchburg City, Campbell County and Amherst County schools are among those closed Monday. Lynchburg City officials say portions Old Forest Road, Link Road and Timberlake Road are among the most heavily-damaged areas. Along with significant damage to some buildings, downed trees and power lines are forcing road closures.

From Campbell County:

Timberlake Road between Laxton Road (Lowe’s) and Waterlick Road is closed until further notice.

There is substantial wind damage in the western area of Campbell County near Greenview Drive/Timberlake Road/Waterlick Road (trees down on homes/buildings; roof damage; significant damage to some businesses on Timberlake Road; some vehicles damaged.)

No serious/transportable injuries are reported.

Many trees are reported down throughout the locality. VDOT is responding to those reports.

The Danville area is also reeling from the severe weather. City Manager Ken Larking has declared a local state of emergency, and as in the case with Lynchburg, many Danville residents are without power, and officials there say outages may last into Tuesday.

While damage in some areas appears consistent with a tornado, there is no official word yet whether any of these storms were in fact tornadoes or whether the damage was caused by straight-line winds. It is typical in such situations for National Weather Service personnel to make in-person visits to determine an official evaluation. As of late Monday evening, there are no reports on serious injuries.

From State Police: Virginia State Police troopers and supervisors have been responding throughout the evening to communities across western and Southside Virginia, as well as the Lynchburg region, that have been impacted by Sunday’s severe storms. Fortunately, at this time, only minor injuries are being reported in those communities impacted by the storms. State police have also been busy responding to reports of downed trees and power lines across numerous roadways. For their safety, Virginians are reminded to never come in contact with downed power lines. Utility crews are responding as quickly as they can to attend to downed lines.