The storm system that affected much of the central and eastern United States from Thursday through Saturday may go down as one of the worst in this nation's history. Some numbers from the event:
* As of 9:09am Monday, there were a total of 267 reports of tornadoes. The actual number of tornadoes may be much less, considering there may be multiple reports for any one tornado.
*Fifteen states reported tornadoes: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas.
*Fatalities: 45 (also as of 9:09am Monday)
The storm system brought a number of tornadoes to the Old Dominion:
*EF-2 tornadoes were reported in both Halifax and Gloucester Counties; The Gloucester County tornado ripped the roof off Page Middle School.
*EF-1 tornadoes were reported in Dinwiddie and Augusta Counties. In Augusta County, the tornado was 300 yards wide, traveled three and a half miles, contained winds up to 95 miles per hour, and damaged several barns in its path near Stuarts Draft.
*One EF-0 was confirmed near Vesuvius, Rockbridge County. This storm was 100 yards wide and was on the ground for a mile and a third.
Here in the Weather Center we received many reports of damage from across the viewing area. Particularly hard hit were northern Albemarle County and Greene County, where nearly thirty trees were felled at the golf course near Stanardsville. Flooding was reported across much of Nelson County, leading to the closure of state route 151 south of Afton. Hail the size of nickels fell in Louisa. A 68-mile per hour wind gust was measured at Wintergreen during the height of one of the thunderstorms.
I'd like to thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding Saturday afternoon while we were on the air with our continuous severe weather coverage. I realize that many hoping to see the first half of the Heat / Sixers basketball game were not able to do so, and that other programming was pre-empted as a result of the weather. We felt that the rotating thunderstorms with histories of tornadic activity moving through densely-populated portions of our viewing area were justification enough to break into all of our programming for an extended period of time. It is our long-standing policy here at the Newsplex to go on air and cover any severe weather posing a threat to lives and property for as long as the threat exists. While this is an area that does not often deal with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, we will continue to follow this policy in the future in achieving our goal of public safety. We will also continue to utilize our networks and social media outlets in passing along information in a timely fashion. Speaking of social media, a huge thanks goes out to all who Tweeted and Facebooked updates / pictures from their corner of the world. Your extra eyes and ears make our jobs as meteorologists much easier.
Many thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by the severe weather late last week. It was truly another example of the incredible power of Mother Nature.
3, 2, 1, fade out...
Chief Meteorologist Travis Koshko
(This blog entry typed without the aide of background music.)