1 death confirmed after tornado touches down in central Virginia

Photo of damage from a tornado to a business on Speeks Rd. in western Chesterfield, VA. |...
Photo of damage from a tornado to a business on Speeks Rd. in western Chesterfield, VA. | Credit: Chesterfield Fire/EMS PIO Lt. Jason Elmore(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 17, 2018 at 4:42 PM EDT
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The Latest on Tropical Depression Florence (all times local):

5:27 p.m.

According to the Chesterfield County Fire Department, a tornado that touched down Monday afternoon killed at least one person.

One fatality was confirmed after Old Dominion Floor Co. Inc. collapsed in the town. All other employees of the business were accounted for and one person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Damage was reported at several other businesses and homes and vehicles were flipped on Hull Street.

Downed trees and power lines led to road closures and thousands of power outages as well.

This came after an earlier tornado damaged three properties in Mecklenberg County, which is near the border with North Carolina.

Large swaths of Virginia have been under tornado watches and warnings as the remnants of Florence move north. Most of the Shenandoah Valley has been under flood warnings and flash flood watches, but there have been no alerts for tornadoes in our area.


4:10 p.m.

A tornado has touched down just outside of Richmond, Virginia — at least the second tornado to hit the state as the remnants of Hurricane Florence passes through.

The National Weather Service said on Twitter that a confirmed tornado was on the ground in Chesterfield County Monday afternoon. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The county school system said all students in county schools were sheltered in place.

Damage has been reported at several Chesterfield businesses and homes. The roof of Old Dominion Floor Co. Inc. in Midlothian has reportedly collapsed and cars have flipped near businesses on Hull Street.

Several roads have been closed in Chesterfield, with all lanes of Hull Street Road being shut down, due to multiple downed trees and power lines from the storm.

There are thousands of power outages being reported as well.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management said earlier that a tornado damaged three properties in Mecklenberg County, which is near the border with North Carolina.

Large swaths of the state have been under flash-flood and tornado watches and warnings as Florence moves north through the state.


4:10 p.m.

Lumberton Fire Chief John Paul Ivey said his firefighters and other Robeson County agencies have responded to hundreds of calls for water rescue and other assistance across the county since Florence began blowing through days ago.

"We've been going so hard and fast we don't have a number yet," he said when asked if there was a total he could provide.

He said a damage estimate would also come later for the town inundated by floodwater.

He says the river is expected to crest sometime Monday night around 25 feet (8 meters), more than 10 feet (3 meters) above flood stage, which matches weather service data for a Lumberton stream gauge.


4 p.m.

Navigation apps like Waze are trying to help motorists avoid hurricane flooding, but local authorities say people shouldn't rely on them.

Some smartphone map directions in recent days have sent people in North Carolina onto flooded roads and others closed to traffic.

Google-owned Waze said Monday it's worked with local governments and its own community of volunteer map editors to mark closures of more than 1,300 roads in North Carolina and hundreds more in South Carolina and Virginia.

But the North Carolina Department of Transportation warned in a Twitter post on Sunday night that Waze and other travel apps are unable to keep up with the Florence-caused road closings.

The agency says "it is not safe now to trust them with your life."


4 p.m.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has 300 people on the ground and is ready to go into places such as Wilmington, North Carolina, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Nielsen spoke Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina, before surveying flood damage in Kinston.

Nielsen said she briefed President Donald Trump on Florence response and recovery efforts in the Carolinas on Monday morning. She said the president would arrive himself as soon as it was safe, so as to not disrupt any lifesaving operations.

She urged evacuees to stay where they are until local officials say the danger of more flooding has passed. She also warned people about the dangers of walking or driving in flooded areas.


4 p.m.

Federal officials so far have not requested the aid of two U.S. Navy ships that are ready to help with hurricane recovery efforts.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said Monday that current needs are being met through the National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies.

The National Guard said more than 6,000 personnel have gone to North Carolina and South Carolina. Another 2,000 are on standby. The U.S. Coast Guard said more than 3,000 of its members are responding.

The Navy ships are ready to send in hundreds of Marines and sailors.

FEMA spokesman John Mills said emergency officials still want those ships positioned off the coast to be "ready and available to go in case the situation becomes more dire."


3:40 p.m.

An economic consulting firm says Hurricane Florence may result in between $17 billion and $22 billion in lost economic output and property damage. That would put Florence in the Top 10 of costliest hurricanes to hit the United States.

Economists at Moody's Analytics caution that this estimate could be revised significantly higher as more information comes in on the extent of inland flooding.

The consulting firm says it is putting property losses at between $16 billion and $20 billion and lost economic output at between $1 billion and $2 billion. The total cost of hurricanes has been rising because of increased construction in coastal areas and more severe flooding associated with rising sea levels.


3:40 p.m.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says rains spawned by Hurricane Florence are to blame for a fatal crash which killed a Florida truck driver.

First Sgt. J.E. Dowdle said 56-year-old Orville King III of Jacksonville, Florida, was driving north on Interstate 85 near Kings Mountain on Sunday. Dowdle said a car was passing King in the left lane when both vehicles hydroplaned. King slid off the right side of the road and struck a tree.

Dowdle said the accident was the worst he'd seen in his career. He said the 18-wheeler split in half and King died at the scene. The trooper said the other driver wasn't hurt.

Kings Mountain is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Charlotte.


3:20 p.m.

Virginia officials say a tornado touched down and damaged three properties in the southern part of the state near the border with North Carolina.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management State Coordinator Jeff Stern said the tornado touched down in Mecklenburg County on Monday.

Stern said there were no reports of injuries, and two homes and a trailer were damaged.

Much of the western part of Virginia has been under flash-flood and tornado watches as Florence circles north.


3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says his administration "will not rest" until the "job is done" in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

The president is offering his thoughts to the people of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and everyone else who has been affected by the storm.

Trump tells reporters at the White House that 20,000 federal personnel have been deployed. He says they are "putting their lives on the line."

Florence is being blamed for at least 20 deaths in the Carolinas and the storm has left about 500,000 customers without power, most of them in North Carolina.