Severe Weather Hits Central Virginia and the Valley
Governor Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency in Virginia following Wednesday's powerful storms that left at least five people dead and caused numerous power outages across the commonwealth.
Throughout central Virginia and the valley, power lines are down and trees have fallen thanks to high winds that battered the area. In our area no major injuries have been reported, however other places in Virginia are not so lucky.
Authorities say four people in Washington County were killed overnight when a storm hit a truck stop and several homes in the Glade Spring area. Several other people were injured and several are missing. See slideshow below for pictures from the scene of storm damage in Washington County - I-81 at Exit 29.
In Halifax County, a woman's body was found in a road. Nine other people were hurt. Several homes reported damage as well.
In Shenandoah County, 1 person was injured by the storm.
In central Virginia, a round of storms produced possible tornados in Louisa and Goochland counties. In Louisa, there is minimal damage reported near Ferncliff.
Reports are in that high winds turned around a pickup truck parked in a driveway. People also spotted what may have been a funnel cloud last night just north of Zion Crossroads, but the worst of their damage was downed trees off Shannon Hill Road and Route 208, and also off Cripple Creek Road near the Goochland County line.
"Looking at what was coming south of us and west of us, it appeared that we were going to get far more than what we did," Louisa County Administrator Robert Dube said.
"I have seen summertime thunderstorms that were a bit worse than what we saw yesterday," Acting Fire Chief Keith Greene said.
Fire and EMS crews in the county were ready to go if the situation worsened. Greene says they have an emergency response plan in place with a team of volunteer crews on call 24-7 if needed.
In the valley, the city of Staunton was hit pretty hard. There are hundreds of scattered power outages. In downtown, many traffic lights aren't working because of the outages. A portion of north Coalter Street near Mary Baldwin College was blocked. A huge tree came down and a utility line is damaged. Also the 600 block of west Frederick Street high winds damaged a tree and utility lines.
A powerful storm cell, possibly packing a tornado, inflicted heavy damage in western Augusta County. On Ruger Lane near the village of Swoope, the storm moved a mobile home right off its foundation. Dozens of trees were broken or uprooted, a storage building was reduced to splinters and several houses sustained roof damage. Residents described the "freight train" sound of a tornado. The storm also destroyed dozens of large trees and caused roof damage on nearby Buffalo Branch lane and the Lime Kiln subdivision near Churchville. There have been no reports of injuries.
Elsewhere heavy winds tossed around debris, downed power lines and toppled trees in the height of the storm. A tree was uprooted and fell across old Lynchburg Road in Albemarle County. Both directions of traffic were backed up until crews could move the massive tree out of the roadway.