* First, AEP warns that it could be Saturday, July 7 before power is restored to some customers in Botetourt County and other communities. The Roanoke Times has details on that announcement in this storm coverage update.
* Secondly, the Botetout Utilities Department has declared a water emergency and urges citizens to conserve water.
Kevin Myatt our Weather Journal Blog of the Roanoke Times has just updated the Botetourt View at 4:35 p.m. Botetourt County is part of a circled area of a forming cluster of severe thunderstorms this evening. Be aware of the increasing potential of strong lightening and high winds in thunderstorms in our area.
Seek shelter in a basement or in a center room of the house if such a severe weather event occurs.
Jane Garnett of Cloverdale sent in this pic of fallen trees at her place!
The Botetourt View has been asked several times today about the length of time food can be eaten without cooling taking place. The ice situation is pretty slim as most of the stores in Botetourt County are reporting they are sold out. Fortunately, Bobby Parker at the Virginia Department of Health is on top of his game and sent this list. Read it carefully. Food poisoning is no fun!
Health Department Provides Tips for Food Safety Following Storms
(Christiansburg, Va.) — In the case of an electrical outage, it is important to take careful precautions to ensure food safety. The risk of food poisoning is heightened when refrigerators and ovens are inoperable. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. Just remember, “When in doubt, throw it out!”
People can practice safe food handling and prevent food-borne illness by following simple steps:
Always keep a thermometer in your refrigerator. The temperature should read 41 F or below.
A full cooler or freezer will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled, so it is important to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs to insure a constant cold temperature. If available, 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for three to four days. Use care when handling dry ice and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.”
Eggs and other foods need to be stored in 41 F or slightly below. Do not eat foods that may have spoiled.
Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled and cooled or disinfected.
For additional food safety information, call the toll-free USDA/FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854. Food safety specialists (both English and Spanish speaking) are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT on weekdays year-round.
The Virginia Department of Health website also contains information on pre-storm planning, post-storm recovery and the prevention of heat-related illnesses. Please visit www.vdh.virginia.gov. Click “Hurricane Season 2012” for information on extreme heat, food safety, drinking water safety, post-storm cleanup and prevention of illnesses and injuries. Or click “Extreme Heat” for information on staying cool and hydrated, heat stroke and heat exhaustion, special considerations for certain groups and shelter information.
Botetourt EMS and Assistant County Administrator Spencer Suter said that potential for severe storms also exists this afternoon and evening.The storm threat has been confirmed by Roanoke Times weatherman Kevin Myatt on his Weather Journal blog that potential exists this afternoon and evening. Be advised that a dark sky, lightning and thunder may be accompanied by high winds like last night. The potential could be sufficient to seek shelter in a basement or interior room. Look for details on Botetourt View’s Facebook every few hours. Gas lines are piling up at local stations. Many have no power in not only Botetourt County, but surrounding localities. Thus no gas pumps in operation in those areas.
AEP has noted it may days before power is restored in some areas.
Though roadways are clear of most fallen trees, parts of Botetourt County look like a war zone. “The good thing about yesterday if there is such,” said Suter, “is the weak wood fell last night.” Winds estimated at 80 miles per hour tore through the area. Our attached photos are a record of the strength of the straight line winds that hit about 9:15 last evening.
Read about the events when the storm hit the Buchanan Carnival about 9:15 last night in our previous story.
Local water systems and lack of water pumps at wells may also have an effect on homeowners. Conserve where you can, but do try to remain fully hydrated.
Today’s Heat Index may be as high as 115 in Botetourt this afternoon with temperatures in the 102-104 range. Consider cooling down in a basement or going to either the Red Cross Shelter at Lord Botetourt or Fincastle Baptist Chucrh if the heat is causing a health situation. Be sure to carry food and medications along.
Check on elderly neighbors and keep a watch on pets and livestock.
** Botetourt Storm Damage Response **
SATURDAY, 10:45 am
Fincastle, VA – As a result of last night’s widespread storm damage and on-going power outtages, a shelter has been opened at Lord Botetourt High School (1435 Roanoke Road, Daleville). Residents requiring shelter are asked to bring basic sustenance supplies, including medications.
A schedule for power restoration is not known at this time.
Residents are asked to call 911 only in the event of emergencies.
Residents at home are asked to conserve water supplies.
Additionally, the Botetourt County Convenience Center at the Landfill (off Catawba Road) will be open until 5:00 PM today.
Woody storm debris from Botetourt residents will be accepted at no charge.
Additional information will be released as it becomes available.
An emergency shelter has been opened at Lord Botetourt High School. Assistant County Administrator and EMS Adminstrator Spencer Suter said that people bring basic sustenance and any medications they require. Lord Botetourt does have power and they are putting air conditioning on now.
Suter also said 8,500 AEP customers, almost all of Dominion customers, and an unknown number of Craig-Botetourt customers remain without power. Emergency Services expects to send a press release from dispatch soon.
One of the problems is there remains little wire internet services throughout Botetourt County and many landline services are down due to fallen trees.
With extreme heat predicted, EMS advises citizens use caution and seek shelter today.
Fincastle Rescue Squad is looking to increase the size of its membership. As the dynamics of available resources and the community continue to change, our goal is to build our membership to meet those demands. Fincastle Rescue has two ambulances and a response vehicle stationed in its quarters on Factory Street in Fincastle. The optimal goal at this time is to have enough volunteers to staff both trucks and to continue to work in conjunction with the county’s career staff to deliver the best and most timely emergency medical care to our citizens and the surrounding areas.
If you have ever been interested in volunteering with Emergency Medical Services, this is a great time to get involved. If you are age 16 or older, you can apply for membership. New members are accepted on a probationary level and are eligible to advance to senior membership once they have completed an EMT-Basic training course and have successfully passed the state certification exam for EMT-B. Probationary members are encouraged to ride along on ambulance calls and will learn important skills and routines by observing the certified EMTs provide care.
There will be another EMT-B Certification Training Course starting in August at the Fincastle Fire Department. Fincastle Rescue Squad will contract with new members to help cover the expenses for both the EMT course and the certification exam. Financial assistance may also be available for members seeking advanced certifications such as EMT-Intermediate, Medic and Paramedic.
Anyone interested in volunteering with the Fincastle Rescue Squad will need to complete two applications. The first is an application for Botetourt County Emergency Services. The application can be found online at yourbces.org. Once this application is submitted, the county will order a criminal background check and a check of the applicant’s DMV record. The second application is specific to Fincastle Rescue and can be picked up after 6 p.m. at the squad building at 20 Factory St. in Fincastle, located one block behind Botetourt Landscaping on Route 220. Or one can be requested by calling the Fincastle Rescue crew hall at 473-8383.
Join us as we build for the future, volunteer today!
Keep reading for more about the Fincastle Volunteer Rescue Squad. Read more »
Community Journalist Cathy Benson was on the scene of the storm front when it hit the Buchanan Carnival. She followed the advice of Kevin Myatt through his wife Community editor, Erica Myatt and drove to pick up her daughter who was with friends there. He warned Benson after she quizzed him on his Roanoke Times Weather Journal blog.
” I showed the text from the Myatts to EMS waiting by the entry way who called over Fire Chief Billy Joe Carter. Myatt had advised the carnival be closed. Carter allowed the band to finish playing their number and the lead singer announced for the crowd to go to their cars and wait to come back after the storm. But the storm hit quickly and with vengeance.”
Benson continued, ” I grabbed my daughter and we backed the car onto Lowe Street. These huge clouds of dust just spewed up from the carnival grounds and the wind whipped debris into the street. As we headed north towards the Copper Top a tree fell on either side of us. Limbs, even a flying umbrella from the Copper Top whizzed over the hood of our car. People were running and screaming. The power went out after the tree fell to our left.”
“My daughter was praying out loud. It was like a scene from a movie. We parked on Main Street until the storm subsided about 20 minutes later. Several rescue vehicles were on the carnival grounds after the storm but no one was apparently seriously hurt as none left for the hospital in the time we waited. The tree that almost got us was huge and was on top of at least one car. Buchanan was in darkness when we left 20 minutes ago. We came to a friends house in Daleville after passing through many downed trees only to find Tinkerview Gardens in darkness as well.”
Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle told Benson that dispatch had plenty of calls about downed trees and damage from the storm in Botetourt County. More rain and storms may come through the area. Sprinkle advised people to be cautious due to downed trees and debris as they travel this evening.
This tree fell beside of Benson's car as she drove down Lowe Street in Buchanan