We were warned for days about this severe weather outbreak and the death toll is now over 200, eight or which are in Virginia. Most deaths occurred in Alabama, where many strong, long range tornadoes tore through both rural and heavily populated areas.
Luckily, no fatalities were reported in our area. We have one confirmed tornado in the Mount Jackson area of Shenandoah County. The National Weather Service will move through three other sites Thursday to determine if there were other touchdowns. I'll actually be meeting up with Chris Strong, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Rockingham County location on Boyers Road.
There have been numerous reports of hail and wind damage throughout the Valley as well. All of this damage came between 12:30am and 5am this morning - an extremely abnormal overnight severe weather situation for us,
While much of the destruction and loss of life was due to more shear power than lack of communication, we can't stress how important it is to heed our warnings. Overnight severe weather events can be the most difficult, since many of us are catching up on some much needed sleep. NOAA weather radios are a phenomenal investment in areas, like ours, that do not have tornado sirens.
Let me finish this entry with the fact that our typical severe weather season is June & July. If this is how April is playing out, I can only imagine it's going to be a long severe weather season ahead. Please go over safety plans with your family and friends so that we're prepared for the remainder of this busy severe season.