Severe storms led to wind damage March 1, 2017

A fast moving line of storms left damage across the area.
Photo from Dayton on March 1, 2017, following severe thunderstorms that rolled through area
Photo from Dayton on March 1, 2017, following severe thunderstorms that rolled through area(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:43 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -A a line of severe thunderstorms rolled through the region on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Wind gusts reaching as high as 50-60 miles per hour, a number of households lost power. This was an incredibly fast moving line, and it was completely through our area in less than 2 hours.




According to the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, as of 1:50 p.m., all but 1 customer in Highland County has had power restored, after 98% of all customers there were earlier without power.

They report 984 customers in Augusta County are without power, 230 in Page County, 322 in Rockingham County, and 23 in Shenandoah County.

Among customers of Dominion, as of 1:50 p.m. 400 in Augusta County are without power, 20 in Page County, 1,106 in Rockingham County, 43 in Shenandoah County, and 556 in Waynesboro.

The storms, which brought heavy rain and strong winds with a slight chance of hail in some areas, moved very quickly and have already passed through most of our area.


There was a concentrated area of tree damage in the Dayton area of Rockingham County. This was due to straight line winds. In fact a personal weather station recorded a gust in Dayton at 97.3 mph. This was not a tornado, but straight line severe thunderstorm wind.

The Dayton Cemetery of Virginia has been around since before the Revolutionary War, and just a few minutes of strong winds Wednesday threatened its history.

“It’s just sad to sit here and look at this,” Jeff Waggy said.

Waggy has lived in Dayton his entire life. He knows almost everyone buried at the Dayton Cemetery.

“You got the Laymans here, you got the Coffmans,” he said. “That’s Mike Hill. His mom and dad is buried on the other side of the road.”

He has never seen damage quite like this.

“Just like a war zone is what it looks like,” Waggy said.

Dayton Public Works worked all afternoon to clean up roads and replace signs after a fast-moving storm swept over the Rockingham County town. Crews said the wind seems to have taken its biggest toll on the local cemetery.

Trees snapped in two and at least a dozen gravestones overturned.

“It’s gonna be more difficult to remove. Further down on Main Street on some of the streets, it’s in the backyards. It’s in the alley ways. It’s gonna be difficult to get that stuff outta there,” said Russell Bailey, the supervisor of Dayton Public Works.

“We certainly don’t want to see a part of our history destroyed, so we’re hoping that it’s minimal,” said Bobby Popowicz, the town manager.