Gustnado in Chesterfield County causes minor damage

Strong winds left behind damage at Chattanooga Plaza’s IHOP
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 6:06 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:07 PM EDT
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MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WWBT) - Strong winds from Wednesday night’s thunderstorm caused minor damage to a business in Chesterfield County.

Several drivers caught video of what looks like a tornado, but NBC12 Meteorologist Andrew Frieden says it’s a gustnado.

“When you see it, it’s like, that’s a tornado, but it’s really not a tornado in the same way a dust devil is not a tornado, or sometimes waterspouts aren’t,” Freiden said. “There’s a big, strong wind that comes out of a thunderstorm that starts a vortex spinning. They typically don’t last very long. They typically produce 50 miles an hour at the top, and for the most part, don’t cause damage,” Freiden said.

Except this gustnado did leave behind a bit of a mess at the Midlothian Chattanooga Plaza in Chesterfield Wednesday night.

IHOP workers said fast winds swooped up a large rock, shattering the side door and cracking a window. The side paneling of the metal roof was also ripped off.

gustnado damage in chesterfield county
gustnado damage in chesterfield county(WWBT)

Freiden says if you see a gustnado close by, stay clear of it.

“If I was to see a big thunderstorm with a vortex, circulating air underneath of it, I would be careful. I’d stay in my vehicle or find a building,” Freiden said.

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