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Northampton tornadoes confirmed

On Monday, the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wakefield, VA confirmed that three tornadoes touched down Friday in Northampton County as part of a severe storm system that tracked across the southeastern United States.

Thus far, NWS-Wakefield officials said they have tracked the paths of 13 tornadoes within their coverage area. Additional storm surveys were conducted on Tuesday where more tornado paths are likely to be confirmed.

The first confirmed tornado in Northampton County was very short-lived, lasting only two minutes and 1.5 miles on the ground. The tornado, classified as an EF-0 (with estimated peak winds of 65-70 mph) touched down at 6:32 p.m. four miles west of Gaston, just north of Lake Gaston. The tornado tracked north and crossed Highway 46 near Cherry Tree Road before lifting. Damage consisted of trees being uprooted and snapped.

Tornado #2 (an EF-1 with winds estimated between 85-90 mph) was reported at 6:38 p.m. The twister, with a width of approximately 100 yards, crossed the Roanoke River into Northampton County near Garysburg and moved north-northeast across NC Highway 46 where it snapped and uprooted several trees.

According to the NWS, the tornado continued tracking across rural portions of Northampton County before crossing into Greensville County, VA near Skippers Road where additional trees were snapped. The tornado then briefly lifted while shifting its track slightly east and touching down again near Caney Swamp south of Taylor`s Mill Road. From here, the tornado continued northeast and caused EF-1 damage to numerous trees along Low Ground Road, before reaching Highway 58 in southwestern Southampton County, VA and then lifting again, ending its total path distance at 18.6 miles.

The afternoon’s final tornado was reported at 6:44 p.m. That twister (an EF-0 with estimated peak winds of 70-80 mph) touched down approximately one mile northwest of the town of Jackson along NC 305 North. The tornado tracked north-northeast for nearly 10 miles over rural portions of Northampton County before finally lifting at 6:54 p.m. just west of Margarettsville. The tornado mostly uprooted and snapped trees along its path.

There were no reported injuries from any of the trio of twisters in Northampton County.

The other tornadoes on Friday confirmed by the NWS were:

Near Brodnax, VA (EF-0; a horse died when a tree uprooted by the twister fell on it);

Southeastern Greensville County, VA (EF-0);

Emporia, VA (EF-0, with damage to a few outbuildings and minor damage to a shopping center in that town);

Disputanta, VA (EF-1; numerous sheds/outbuildings received significant damage or were destroyed);

Sussex, VA (EF-0, garage destroyed by uprooted tree);

Mineral, VA (EF-2, substantial damage to a restored 18th century two story home);

Near Smithfield, VA (EF-0, one home damaged by uprooted tree);

Williamsburg, VA (EF-0, substantial tree damage, powerline damage, and some home damage along Queens Drive);

Newport News, VA (EF-0, damage to trees and one shed); and

Gloucester County, VA (EF-0).

The EF (Enhanced Fujita) Scale is the standard way to measure tornadoes based on wind damage. The scale ranges from EF-0 (the weakest type of tornado with winds of 65-85 mph) to EF-5 (the strongest twister; winds greater than 200 mph).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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