As the country has experienced firsthand over the last few weeks, tornados are one of Mother Nature’s deadliest creations. You’ve undoubtedly seen the destruction on the news lately, as Oklahoma has had the misfortune of playing host to multiple tornadoes in May, with a number of terrifying twisters touching down there on more than one occasion. While places like Oklahoma are more prone to tornadoes than other locations, the harsh reality of the fact is that tornadoes can strike anywhere. Take Virginia, for example. While far from “tornado alley,” tornados have been known to hit the “Old Dominion” hard, leaving behind a devastating path of destruction. In fact, according to the Tornado History Project, there have been a total of 656 recorded tornadoes in Virginia dating back to 1951. Below are a few examples of tornados that have left behind significant amount of storm damage in Virginia.
- A powerful F3 tornado tore through Gloucester County (in southeastern Virginia) on April 18, 2011, killing three and blowing the roof off of a local middle school. In total, 162 homes were damaged and storm recovery and repair costs were estimated to be $7.7 million.
- On October 13, 2011, a tornado touched down on I-95 in Prince William County. While no deaths resulted from the storm, it was a harsh reminder of the tornado that took place just months prior. Roof and shingle damage on multiple homes was reported, and nearby GW Watkins Elementary School was damaged.
- A September 28, 2006 twister wreaked havoc on a Virginia farm, knocking down a silo, tearing the roof off of a barn, and tossing a trailer over 100 yards. It also demolished two concrete buildings nearby.
- On August 6, 1993, a total of 18 different tornadoes touched down in Virginia – the most destructive day of twisters in the state’s modern history (the old record for most tornadoes in Virginia in a single day was 10). Of the 18 tornadoes reported, the largest and most dangerous was an F4 tornado that passed through Petersburg with winds of 210 miles per hour. Four Virginia residents were killed and 259 were injured. Damage from the monstrous F4 tornado was estimated to be $47 million, while total damage from the day of destruction was around $52.5 million.
For those of you who own property, it would be wise to prepare for the possibility of tornado storm damage, although in most cases, there’s not much you can do other than to bunker down and hope for the best. If you do find yourself faced with storm damage, try to stay calm: there are companies who are willing to help you make timely and affordable repairs. If a twister passes through and your home or building is significantly damaged, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management recommends that you stay out of the damaged structure. In the end, remember that your safety is the most important thing. Property can be repaired or replaced, but you can’t be.