Highland County Tornado History

History, since 1950
History, since 1950(whsv)
Published: Jul. 17, 2022 at 10:59 PM EDT
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MUSTOE, Va. (WHSV) - Highland county does in fact have one tornado in recorded history.

This happened on around 4:00 p.m. on the afternoon of April 28, 1959. In the NWS database of storm reports, there are no other damage reports from Virginia but there are some damage reports from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, so this was likely a line of storms or even scattered in some nature.

The tornado touched down just south of Mustoe to the Dixon Hills area, which is along Rt. 220 along the Jackson river.

The National Weather Service even described the report of the “swirling, roaring cloud.” There were even eyewitness reports that the “swirling dark cloud” contained visible tree branches.

There was a damage path of broken, snapped and uprooted trees. At C.P Gillespie’s farm there were about 75 trees damaged or uprooted and a “barn was turned on it’s foundation.”

There were also reports of several barns moved off their foundation and some outbuildings damaged or destroyed.

Several trees were blown down at the Hiner farm as well as a metal roof being twisted.

A wooden bridge was destroyed as well and this was “near Sally’s place” according to the newspaper report. Hail fell as large as dime to tea cup size which is significant, that would be about 3″ in diameter.

Highland County tornado, 1959
Highland County tornado, 1959(NWS)

The newspaper report from the Highland Recorder even shows a photo of the damage.

There was extensive damage at the farm of Mrs. Glenna Curry, and the newspaper photo shows “the remains of a cinder block building.” The roof of the building was thrown reportedly about 50′ away.

Newspaper report
Newspaper report(Highland Recorder)

In the National Weather Service database this tornado is not given a rating, and damage is listed at $2,500.

According to the newspaper, the only fatality is “a chicken which was killed when the wind overturned a chicken house on Melvin Doyle Farm on Dixon Hills.

Monterey reported about 0.75″ of heavy rain but no high winds reported. This is the only tornado in county history.

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