David Alther snapped this windshield-tint-enhanced photo as he headed east out of Gid Brown Hollow just after 9 a.m. Monday morning (Dec. 9) — at which point Rappahannock Electric Cooperative reported more than 10,000 customers without power in its 22-county service area, most of them concentrated in Rappahannock, Culpeper and Fauquier counties. The storm tracked the same narrow, Northern-Piedmont tunnel just east of the Blue Ridge that was ground zero for damaging late-season snowstorms last March.
The storms forced the cancellation of Washington’s annual Christmas parade and festival, the first year it was to be sponsored by the Rappahannock Food Pantry — which planned a float on which a family would be having Christmas dinner (before decoration but after cancellation, that’s volunteers Kaye Johnson and Mary Thompson and Pantry manager Mimi Forbes expressing themselves on the float). The sheriff’s office and emergency services coordinator Richie Burke reported no major accidents during the storm. “We responded to a few fender benders,” Burke said, “but no more than usual. It’s a good thing it snowed when it did — because it started on a Sunday, I think fewer people were on the roads.”