PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - 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.
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