Freiden explains how NWS conducts tornado damage survey

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The National Weather Service was investigating in the area today, checking out the damage in order to confirm a tornado came through.

NBC12's Andrew Freiden visited Ginter Park in North Richmond to show us how weather experts assess the aftermath.

In the aftermath of any storm like this the big question on everyone's mind is was it or was it not a tornado. The National Weather Service decides and they do so by coming and taking a look at what's left behind and also talking to eyewitnesses.

It was a busy day for many in the Richmond-Metro area.  Crews worked to clear large trees from roads all while the NWS was in town to check out the damage firsthand.  This time, folks were right.

"There were numerous eyewitness reports of seeing a funnel cloud and hearing that freight train noise and seeing the kind of debris flying up in the air and spinning," Freiden said.

Once on scene, the NWS could tell the damage was the work of a tornado.  Right away you could see spots of severe damage right beside nothing at all, and the fallen trees sealed the deal.

"In this situation you've got trees pointing in all different directions and at some point along the pattern," Freiden said. "I'll bet you'll find almost a spiral pattern with the trees and all those limbs, and that indicates rotating winds and a tornado instead of straight line winds."

Straight line winds can cause just as much damage, but it won't send things flying through the air the same way.

"A tell-tale sign of tornado damage is when you have projectiles, and they can be small, twigs or little pieces of wood, sticking into houses or trees," Freiden said.