We are experiencing a weather event called a “bombogenesis,” an extreme drop in barometric pressure over a very short amount of time. A polar vortex has split and a high-pressure system near Greenland turning westward is expected to make this winter storm called “Riley” a slow mover. High winds are affecting most of the eastern part of the country causing hundreds of thousands of power outages. Coastal flooding will be moderate to major into the weekend causing evacuation orders to be issued all along the coast. Snow is falling in the northeast with reports out of New York at almost 19 inches high. High winds are cutting through the mid-Atlantic states with 67 mph recorded at Washington-Dulles and 74 mph atop Chickaree Summit in Pennsylvania. 50 mph gusts are knocking down trees all across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and western North Carolina.
On the coast, this storm is referred to as a “nor-easter” and is forecast to intensify today. Widespread power outages are predicted and moderate to major coastal flooding will occur from Maine to the Outer Banks of North Carolina beginning today and continuing through Sunday.
According to the National Weather Service out of Blacksburg, just before 8 AM this morning Martinsville is reporting sustained northwest winds of 10 mph with wind gusts up to 41 mph. Danville is reporting 15 mph winds and 37 mph gusts, Greensboro and Hillsville are reporting gusts up to 40 mph and Greensboro is recording 51 mph gusts. Damaging winds will persist in our area through Saturday morning. Wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph can be expected, with higher speeds along the mountain ridges.
For Martinsville, gusts are predicted to peak at noon today, topping out at 51 mph. Overnight and Saturday winds will persist with gusts up to 30 mph. Winds will reduce significantly Sunday and be gone by Sunday night.
Due to the high wind warning, Henry, Franklin, Patrick, and Pittsylvania Counties are closed today.
As of 9 AM there are approximately 2,500 Appalachian Power customers without power in Henry County.