Va. Gov. Warns of Continuing Challenges Despite Light Initial Damage | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Va. Gov. Warns of Continuing Challenges Despite Light Initial Damage

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A tree fell on a resident's car in Alexandria, Va. -- most of the state was spared serious damage.
Jonathan Wilson
A tree fell on a resident's car in Alexandria, Va. -- most of the state was spared serious damage.

Even though Virginia was spared the worst of Hurricane Irene, hundreds of thousands of residents are still without power and more flooding could be in store for residents downstate.

Gov. Robert McDonnell says that, while the state fared better than expected, some residents still have challenges ahead -- such as two rivers in the Hampton Roads area expected to crest at flood levels on Tuesday.

Despite the state’s relative good fortune, McDonnell says he doesn’t regret sounding the alarm before the storm hit.

"You know only God knows what these things are gonna do and how strong it’s gonna be when it gets there," notes McDonnell. "You've got to be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best."

Virginia State Emergency Coordinator Michael Cline says 79 shelters were opened by local governments before the storm -- a huge improvement compared to the preparations for Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

"We did not have that in place when Isabel hit," remarks Cline. "They’ve made some tremendous strides in the last ten years, and a lot of the credit for everything that went well goes to those local responders."

Irene caused four deaths in Virginia and left 1.1 million customers without power -- the second largest outage in state history. Most outages are in the Richmond area, but 12,000 customers in Northern Virginia are still without power Monday.

Dominion Virginia Power says most residents in this area will have power back by tomorrow

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