While residents did not get through the past weekend's storms completely unscathed, overall, it appears the rest of the region — even the county — fared worse.
In fact, for one couple from Great Falls, Ashburn was the haven. Phil and Pauline Spano were cooling off at the Brambleton Town Center, but not because they didn’t have a comfy place to stay while they awaited the restoration of power at their home.
“My son’s over in Brambleton,” said Phil Spano, explaining that his son’s family was actually on vacation. “They’re in North Carolina, so we’re hanging out at their house.”
The Spanos, married for 40 years in the same Great Falls home for 33, had been back to Great Falls, delivering bags of ice from Harris Teeter to neighbors and trying to salvage some shrimp and steak in the refrigerator. From Tysons to Dulles, the Spanos said, traffic signals were out and residents were looking for places to gather, like Dulles Town Center.
Pauline Spano admitted the couple might have been fine if she had permitted Phil to make an impulse purchase two years ago — a generator.
“He was going to get it two years ago and I talked him out of it,” she said, as he added that he had looked at them again within that past couple of weeks.
The greatest Ashburn surprise came Saturday night.
“They had fireworks last night,” Pauline said, referring to a planned show at the Brambleton Town Center Saturday night. A show in Sterling was canceled.
“We sat on my son’s front porch and watched it,” Phil Spano said. “It was beautiful.”
Many residents in Ashburn experience flickers of power, and perhaps loss of Verizon or other cable and phone services, but overall, the air conditioning units have continued to pump.
“Lights flickered a bit,” said Julie Lippincott on the Ashburn Patch Facebook page. “I feel so badly for those who are without power, especially the elderly and the sick.”
Shawn Mitchell, owner of Modern Mechanical, said business has been up overall this weekend, but in Ashburn even the air conditioners seem to be working.
“We doubled our weekend staff to handle the volume of calls and we have managed to continue to offer same day or next day service,” he said. “Power was not an issue in Ashburn, however, we had customers without power in Sterling, Chantilly, and western Loudoun.”
And, as Mitchell explained, residents were not the only ones impacted by communications issues.
“Our phones and Internet went down around 9 a.m. Saturday,” he said. “Comcast said the power company had cut one of their fiber cables. We were managing customers on cell phones and mobile broadband.”
“We were fortunate to have our power throughout the storm and have been assisting shoppers and the community with a indoor shelter throughout the weekend allowing patrons to stay inside, charge their mobile devices and use our free WiFi service in our food court to reconnect,” said Dan Cook, a spokesman from Lerner Enterprises for the mall. “The center has been very robust throughout the weekend looking to escape the heat.”
Dulles kept its doors open all night Saturday and planned to do the same Sunday. Power may not be restored to everyone for days.
Supervisors Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) and Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) said there were no major complaints about power made to their offices.