Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Virginia State News

June 7, 2013

1 dead, threat of tornado as Andrea approaches

HILLSVILLE, Va. —  A South Carolina man was killed on a rain-soaked interstate Friday as Tropical Storm Andrea made its way toward Virginia, bringing with it a threat of tornadoes and flooding.

Authorities blamed heavy rain from the storm’s outer bands for a fatal accident on Interstate 77 in Carroll County.

William Petty, 57, of Lexington, S.C., was a passenger in a car traveling north on the interstate. The car hydroplaned while passing a tractor trailer near the 12.5 mile marker, hit the guardrail and stopped in the middle of the northbound lanes facing south.

Petty and the driver made it out of the car safely. When Petty went back to the vehicle to retrieve some items, the car was struck by two tractor trailers. The second tractor trailer ran off the road and overturned in a ditch.

“We do believe weather was a factor in the initial crash as it was raining heavy at the time,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Deborah Cox said in a release.

The driver, Susan Petty, received minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital. Neither truck driver was injured.

No charges were filed.

In the eastern part of the state, residents kept a wary eye out as forecasters warned the storm could spawn tornadoes as it approached the area into Friday night like it did in Florida.

Meteorologist Mike Montefusco of the National Weather Service’s Wakefield office said coastal and inland Virginia were expected to get 2 to 4 inches of rain and lashed by winds of up 40 mph. On the coast, the storm was expected to stir 8- to 12-foot seas.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Portsmouth advised boaters to stay off the water ahead of the storm and swimmers at popular tourist destinations like Virginia Beach were warned to stay out of the water because of dangerous rip currents.

In Norfolk, organizers of the annual Harborfest celebration canceled the parade of sail down the city’s waterfront because of Andrea. The parade typically involves tall ships from around the world and is one of the primary draws for the weekend festival, which celebrates the region’s rich nautical heritage and draws nearly half a million visitors each year.

Outdoor concerts that had been planned in conjunction with Harborfest on Friday were moved indoors, as public visitation aboard charter vessels and an emergency response boat demonstration were canceled.

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