South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
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No tornado, only a MESS
SoVaNow.com / April 24, 2013Mecklenburg County residents continue to clean up around their homes after severe storms blew through the area early Friday evening. Central and Southside Virginia were the hardest-hit by the rapidly moving cell, which pelted the area with torrential rains and hail, in addition to the winds.
Residents were joined by crews from Dominion Virginia Power, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and Shentel as they assessed damage, cleared roads and worked to restore power Saturday.
Nearly 8,000 homes were without power Friday night. Some 500 of them were Mecklenburg County customers of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, according to MEC vice-president Brian Mosier. The outages were mainly caused by flying limbs and debris landing on power lines, said Daisy Pridgin, a community affairs officer with Dominion Virginia Power.
By 5:00 p.m. Saturday, most of both Dominion’s and MEC’s customers had their power restored.
Despite its proximity to the storm-ravaged area in Clarksville, Pridgin said the company saw no damage to its Clarksville coal-fired plant.
The path of the storm was two-fold: originating in Bedford County to the west and in the Triangle area in North Carolina to the south. The northern line of storms swept through Bedford, Pittsylvania, and Halifax counties, and later made its way through Charlotte County to the Crewe area, with winds of up to 60 mph reported.
The southern leg of the storm caused widespread damages in the Raleigh-Wake County area and, further north, in Person and Granville counties in North Carolina and Mecklenburg County in Virginia.
Large trees were uprooted, especially in the Merifield Acres area near Clarksville, which saw its roads blocked and roofs speared by trees and debris. Hailstones the size of golf balls pelted also pelted much of this same area leaving homes, cars and structures banged up and covered in ice.
Bill Sammler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said most of the damage was due to straight line winds that accompanied the storms, though some, including loss of leaves on trees, was caused by the hail which preceded the wind and rains.
Sammler was in Clarksville on Monday checking the sites that sustained the heaviest damage before concluding that the area did not see a tornado. He said all the downed trees were lying in the same direction — something that would not have happened had a tornado touched down.
From a homeowners’ perspective, though, Sammler said it makes no difference if their homes were damages by straight-line winds or a tornado.
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