- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2011

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and members of the state’s congressional delegation took an aerial tour on Monday to assess the damage from Hurricane Irene in Hampton Roads.

Mr. McDonnell, who surveyed the Richmond area on Sunday, said power had been restored to 600,000 customers, and nearly all restorations would be completed by Friday. He had estimated that the storm, which caused four deaths in Virginia, had knocked out power to 1.1 million customers — or 2.5 million people.

Mr. McDonnell was joined by Reps. Scott Rigell, Randy Forbes, Robert J. Wittman — all Republicans — and Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat.

“The big challenge now is to do all the damage assessments,” said Mr. McDonnell, a Republican. “We’re still not out of the woods. … We still caution residents that are engaged in clean-up to look for downed power lines.”

All Dominion Virginia Power customers in Northern Virginia are supposed to have their power restored by Tuesday.

Mr. Scott said that as Congress crafts a budget in the coming weeks, it would be important that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was properly funded.

The governor also urged residents to consider donating to the Virginia Emergency Disaster Relief Fund, which was created after tornadoes struck the state in April and received about $1.1 million of private donations in August.

The fund also got $600,000 in seed money from the state and $111,500 in donations collected at Virginia liquor stores by the state’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.