Charlottesville’s inland location has helped it dodge the likes of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, but it’s gotten slammed in the past.
September 19-20, 2003
By the time it hit Virginia, Isabel was a Category 1 storm. Nonetheless, it was a killer, taking 32 lives in the state directly or indirectly, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and two in Albemarle when a car ran off the road during heavy rainfall and crashed into a tree. According to the Cav Daily, two others in vehicles were injured by falling trees, one person was hurt when a tree crashed into a house and a police officer was struck by a branch. The ground was already saturated from previous rain, and trees toppled like bowling pins, including a 250-year-old white oak near Brooks Hall on UVA Grounds. At the height of the power outages, 50,000 local Dominion customers were without power, and some were in the dark for nearly two weeks.
August 19-20, 1969
For its sheer one-two punch—killing 174 when it made landfall as a Category 5 storm on the Mississippi coast, and then two days later as a tropical depression, drowning Nelson County, where 125 people perished—Camille remains the deadliest force of nature to hit central Virginia. Whole families were lost when Camille dumped what’s conservatively estimated as more than 27 inches in eight hours, and even today, you can see the bare spots on the mountains around Lovingston where pounding rain tore off the top soil. Still missing: 33 people.
June 21, 1972
Agnes, too, was a tropical depression when it hit Scottsville, flooding the town with water that rose 34 feet. That, following Camille’s 30 feet of water, prompted town fathers to seek federal funding for a levee. While no one died in Scottsville, 16 Virginians lost their lives to Agnes, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
June 29, 2012
Until high-powered winds roared into Albemarle from the west, we’d never heard the term derecho, which means “straight” in Spanish. The blast killed six people, two of them in Albemarle County—John Porter, 64, when he stepped onto his porch in Ivy, and Catherine Ford, 52, when she got out of her car on Scottsville Road. Nearly 40,000 people lost power, some for a week, and Crozet canceled its Fourth of July celebration because of damage to Claudius Crozet Park.
We say microburst, but UVA climatologist Jerry Stenger says it’s more accurately called a “downburst.” Whatever you call them, a spate hit Charlottesville in 2010, and the worst on June 24 left 45,000 without power. Trees came down all over town with the city fire department responding to 31 calls of crunched houses, and another 15 to 20 county homes were in the path of falling trees.
Camille’s casualty count appeared on the front page of the Daily Progress in the summer of 1969.
Jackson voted out
City Council unanimously agreed September 5 to send the statue of General Stonewall Jackson packing, along with his Confederate buddy General Robert E. Lee—pending litigation permitting.
The UVA group charged with reviewing the events of August 11-12, including a white nationalist torch-carrying march through Grounds, found the university could have sought better intel on Unite the Right plans, enforced its open-flame policy and notified the university community when neo-Nazis flooded the premises, among other recommendations.
Quote of the Week: Wes is a jackass. —City Council gadfly Mason Pickett takes a sign to the corner of Preston Avenue and McIntire Road.
Press conference casualties
Jason Kessler filed assault charges against longtime activist Jeff Winder, 49, and PHAR organizer Brandon Collins, 44, who were among the angry mob that chased the Unite the Right organizer into the arms of police protection August 13, the day after his hate fest invasion resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and injured dozens more.
Western NC transplant
The Board of Supervisors appointed Cleveland County, North Carolina, county manager Jeffrey Richardson as the new county executive, effective in November. Richardson has 27 years of local government experience, a master’s degree from UNC and a new $217,000 annual paycheck, according to the Daily Progress.
The Dave Matthews Band, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande and more will perform a free September 24 show in the wake of the deadly August 12 rally. The ticket lottery is over, but a small number will be available at the UVA box office September 15.
Check this out
C-VILLE Weekly Publisher Aimee Atteberry, the vice chair of the Salvation Army advisory board, presented the nonprofit and beneficiary of this year’s Best of C-VILLE party with a check for $8,017.58 September 12.
Cost of inquiries
Former U.S. attorney/Hunton & Williams partner Tim Heaphy, who is preparing a review of the city’s planning and response to multiple recent alt-right and KKK rallies, will charge $545 an hour with a $100,000 max payment, which he says is a discount. UVA has hired its own outside source with a $250,000 price tag to review its procedures.
Before its board pulled the plug on Piedmont Council for the Arts, it released a study last month about the economic prosperity
nonprofit arts and cultural orgs rained down upon the greater Charlottesville community in 2016.
$121.8million: Economic impact
2,100: Full-time equivalent jobs
$9.5 million: Government revenue
$36.11 per event: Amount a typical arts attendee spent, beyond the cost of admission
84%: Nonlocal attendees who say they visited to attend an arts or cultural event