Thursday, March 10, 2016

A day visit to a tornado-damaged area less than 70 miles from Washington DC

On a day trip Thursday, I saw the extensive damage from the February 24 tornado, SW of Tappahannock VA, especially on Kino road and route 619, off route 360, just as it veers west from US 17 south of town. 

The damage is extensive, for about 300 yards, and it appears many small homes must have been destroyed, given the debris.  The tornado apparently was on the ground for 28 miles, crossing the Rappahannock.

People said it was very warm that day, 75 degrees or so, whereas it reached 65 in Washington.  On a straight line, this damage is only about 60 miles SE of Washington, and the tornado struck just after dark.  There was an EF4 in La Plata (30 miles from DC) in April 2002, and an EF3 in College Park Md (bordering DC) in 2001, in late September. 

North of town, on US 17, the tornado crossed but the damage to homes appears less.

One would hope people had homeowner’s insurance.

The degree of wind shear in this storm in a winter month is frightening.  It’s not clear if climate change is related to the storm, or whether it was a product of El Nino.  The severe squall line tracked farther north and west than had been expected. But anyone can wind up in a shelter. 

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