The National Weather Service is confirming to NBC12 that a strong EF-0 tornado touched down in Petersburg late Friday evening. The news comes following an early-morning survey of damage in the area.
The tornado touched down shortly after 7:00 p.m., while Petersburg was under a severe thunderstorm warning. No tornado warning was ever issued for this particular storm. The Petersburg tornado had winds of up to 85 miles per hour and was only on the ground for approximately 8 minutes, from 7:08 p.m. to 7:14 p.m.
The Petersburg tornado traveled on the ground for approximately three miles, beginning on the western edge of Ft. Hayes Common. The storm moved northeast, to Battlefield Park, Oakhurst and East Walnut Hill. The National Weather Service says the tornado then crossed I-95.
In all, 5 people reported injuries from the Petersburg tornado.
Petersburg city officials declared a local emergency Friday night. The city says it now plans to request assistance from FEMA and anticipates a multi-million dollar clean-up process. In all, fallen trees damaged more than 40 homes and debris from the storm impacted nearly 300 different properties, according to a City of Petersburg press release.
Petersburg Public Works is working overtime to help pick up the pieces and clean the mess the storm left behind. Crews spent the entire weekend working and staff are also scheduled to remove debris Monday and Tuesday. Meanwhile, the city is asking residents to move storm debris to the curb for removal instead of putting it in the streets.
At the height of Friday's storms, nearly 12,000 people were without electricity in the metro Richmond/Tri-Cities area. Crews from Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Fort Lee, and Prince George all assisted with storm response in Petersburg on Friday.
The Petersburg tornado is the second of two tornadoes confirmed in Virginia on Friday. The National Weather Service reports an EF-1 tornado touched down in Hampton just after 8:00 p.m. with wind speeds of 98 miles per hour.
That tornado began near the Monitor Merrimac Memorial bridge. The storm then moved through downtown Hampton and into the Chesapeake Bay.
A tornado warning was issued for Hanover County, Friday evening. We spoke with several people who witnessed what appeared to be a funnel cloud in the area, some capturing images on camera. So far, no tornado has been confirmed from that area.
NOAA Weather Radio service was down Friday evening for much of eastern Virginia. The National Weather Service says construction crews cut a fiber line, which knocked out weather radio service during Friday evening's storms.
Wakefield's National Weather Service office confirms to NBC12 that this issue did not impact people living in the Richmond/Tri-Cities area.
For the latest weather information and details on how you can stay in touch with the NBC12 First Warning Weather team 24/7, visit our weather page.
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
Full Report from The National Weather Service in Wakefield:
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
1213 PM EDT SAT JUN 2 2012
...TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR PETERSBURG IN VIRGINIA...
DATE...JUN 1 2012
ESTIMATED TIME...7:08 PM TO 7:14 PM
MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF0
ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...80 - 85 MPH
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...150-200 YARDS
PATH LENGTH...3.0 MILES
BEGINNING LAT/LON...37.1791 / -77.3817
ENDING LAT/LON...37.2201 / -77.3638
* INJURIES...5 MINOR (CUTS AND BRUISES)
* THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO
CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN NWS
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WAKEFIELD VA HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO
NEAR PETERSBURG VIRGINIA ON JUN 1 2012.
THE TORNADO TRACKED APPROXIMATELY 3 MILES BEGINNING ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF
FT. HAYES COMMON...WHERE A COUPLE OF TREES WERE DAMAGED. IT THEN CONTINUED
NORTHEAST THROUGH PORTIONS OF THE BATTLEFIELD PARK, OAKHURST AND EAST WALNUT
HILL SECTIONS OF PETERSBURG. THE TORNADO THEN CROSSED INTERSTATE 95, CAUSING
MINOR DAMAGE, MAINLY WINDOWS BLOWN OUT AND SIGNS DAMAGED, JUST EAST OF THE
INTERSECTION OF RT. 460 AND HICKORY HILL ROAD. THE LAST MINOR DAMAGE/DEBRIS
WAS OBSERVED ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE PETERSBURG NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD. THE
DAMAGE THERE WAS CHARACTERIZED BY TREES, LARGE LIMBS AND POWER LINES DOWN.
A NUMBER OF TREES FELL ON HOMES. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE OCCURRED IN THE
EAST WALNUT HILL NEIGHBORHOOD AND THE NORTHEAST SECTIONS OF THE OAKHURST
THIS INFORMATION CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON OUR WEBSITE AT WEATHER.GOV/AKQ.
FOR REFERENCE...THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO
THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:
EF0...WIND SPEEDS 65 TO 85 MPH.
EF1...WIND SPEEDS 86 TO 110 MPH.
EF2...WIND SPEEDS 111 TO 135 MPH.
EF3...WIND SPEEDS 136 TO 165 MPH.
EF4...WIND SPEEDS 166 TO 200 MPH.
EF5...WIND SPEEDS GREATER THAN 200 MPH.
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