Year in Review: Derecho Becomes Part of Local Weather Vocabulary - WSET.com - ABC13

Year in Review: Derecho Becomes Part of Local Weather Vocabulary in 2012

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Lynchburg, VA - A hot summer evening turned dangerous fast.

Winds of 60 to 80 mile per hour heavily damaged the area including the Hill City.

Expecting the worst, people flocked to gas stations to fill up.

That was easier said than done, though.

"It's really hard to find gas. I wouldn't have known about this place if my boyfriend hadn't told me and my sister. So, yeah, I came a long ways," said one of the many filling up gas.

In the first 24 hours, Appalachian Power reported more than 184,000 people without power.

Power crews had to be called in from out of state for back-up.

First reports said it would be days before power would be on.

With a massive heat wave already in progress, people needed refuge and medical attention.

Thomas Road opened its doors, giving Central Virginia a place to eat, sleep and cool off.

"As long as we need to, as long as the powers, until the power comes back on, Thomas Road will be open 24 hours a day," said Pastor Jonathan Falwell.

The derecho didn't bring out the best in all of us, though.

One Lynchburg man said three men attacked and stabbed him, just to steal his generator.

Bob Ligon was attacked. "They were standing at the edge of that asphalt, and I went bam, bam, bam."

In the middle of the derecho chaos, a new leader took the helm in Lynchburg.

On July 3, Mike Gillette replaced Joan Foster as mayor.

Many said there was a lot of work to do.

In the sixth day of clean-up, Roanoke was getting its power back faster than Lynchburg's.

Lynchburg was hardest hit with more downed trees, lines and poles. All of that damage made the job harder and more dangerous for crews to clean up.

"You got 7,000 to 7,200 per phase, 12,000 phase to phase on this circuit and that's quite a bit of voltage," explained Tommy Bondurant, with American Electric Power.

FEMA toured the devastation on July 13.

A storm that blew through in minutes is expected to cost Lynchburg millions of dollars.

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