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Tuesday night storm causes damage, power outages in Augusta County

Lightning illuminates Bridgewater College from a storm in Staunton on Tuesday night
Lightning illuminates Bridgewater College from a storm in Staunton on Tuesday night(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 9:32 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:44 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - After a day of hot and hazy sunshine, people in Augusta County received a surprising jolt last evening as a pop-up shower that developed over the western part of the county just after 9:00pm quickly erupted into a severe thunderstorm by 10:00pm over the Staunton area. Torrential rain and strong wind gusts rattled residents in the Staunton area, with radar estimating over 2 inches of rainfall in areas that saw heavy rainfall just one night prior. This led to a flash flood warning for central and eastern Augusta County, including Staunton.

Downed tree limbs in Staunton from Tuesday night's storm
Downed tree limbs in Staunton from Tuesday night's storm(WHSV)

Downed tree limbs and power lines were reported across areas of Staunton and eastern Augusta County by Perry Weller, the Staunton Fire Chief, especially in the Greenville and Ritchie Blvd. areas in Staunton. At one point, 1,600 residents were without power, most of which had been restored by the morning. Two separate water rescues were also needed, including an adult and a child pulled from a car in quickly rising waters. Thankfully, the waters subsided once the rain stopped falling. Check out more photos in the gallery below.

So why did this storm form? This was a tough one, as we were forecasting sunny skies and a clear night, and it is certainly humbling when things don’t go as planned. As it is, there was a tiny piece of energy aloft, very subtle, and this energy, combined with the terrain of the mountains and higher moisture in the atmosphere, was enough to lift air to the point where thunderstorm growth was able to flourish. And due to enough instability in the atmosphere, once air began to rise, a powerhouse storm was born.

We are tracking another boundary slipping southward from Pennsylvania this afternoon and evening, which will increase storm chances for our northern viewing areas, but coverage is expected to be isolated. However, any storm can bring heavy rain and damaging wind gusts. You can track the latest information on your WHSV Weather App, which you can download for free wherever you get your favorite phone apps!

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