Weather service confirms 7 tornadoes in Virginia

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor McDonnell will tour Washington County on Friday. The storm that rolled through on Thursday left a trail of damage and caused several deaths.

There were four storm deaths in Washington County and another in Halifax County. 50 people were injured.

The National Weather Service confirmed Friday morning that seven tornadoes touched down in central and southwest Virginia Wednesday and Thursday.

The most damaging was an EF3 tornado in Washington County. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management says that severe of a tornado, which packs winds of up to 165 miles per hour, is rare in Virginia, with only 24 in history.

The service says EF2 tornadoes blew through Smyth and Halifax Counties. Those can carry winds of up to 135 miles per hour. Less severe tornadoes were confirmed in Carolina, Goochland, Shenandoah and Cumberland counties.

The service is working to verify additional tornadoes that were reported across the state. In all, five people were killed and more than 50 others injured. More than 7,000 people, mostly in southwest Virginia, remain without power.

There have been more than 20 confirmed tornados in the last several weeks in Virginia.

The safest place to stay during a tornado is the lowest level of a sturdy building. In your home, the safest place would be your hallway or your coat closet. You just want to make sure you're away from windows and have enough interior wall space surrounding you during a tornado.

Do not go under trees, and if you're driving, get out and get down to the ground.

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