NWS: EF-1 Tornado strikes Kanawha County

Weather

UPDATE: Wednesday June 26, 2019

The National Weather Service has revised the initial findings on the tornado that struck Kanawha county, raising the wind speed estimate slightly while also reducing the length of damage path slightly and also delineating what is believed to be actual tornado damage and strong wind damage.

The new estimate is 95 mile per hour maximum wind speed which is still ranked EF-1 damage and the length of path is now reduced to 8.25 miles.

The wind damage came from a downburst-style wind known as a rear flank downdraft.

“The rear flank downdraft, or RFD as we call it, is basically where strong winds are wrapping around the back side of the storm and they come down and slam the ground and spread out and can cause their own kind of damage,” explained StormTracker 13 chief meteorologist Spencer Adkins.

The National Weather Service office in Charleston released two new storm path maps showing the path where tornado damage was found in red and where the RFD damage winds occurred in the blue polygons. The tornado basically hit and lifted several times during the life of the storm.

Red = Tornado damage – Blue = wind damage via NWS Charleston, WV damage survey
Red = Tornado damage – Blue = wind damage via NWS Charleston, WV damage survey

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The storm that rocked Kanawha County on Monday, (June 24, 2019) has been ruled an EF-1 tornado on the enhanced Fujita damage scale by the National Weather Service.

The storm touched down near the Lincoln-Kanawha County line and moved northeast, skipping with touchdowns causing substantial tree damage in multiple areas. The length of the storm is projected to have covered some 11 miles, paralleling U.S. Route 119 (Corridor G) before lifting as the storm crossed into downtown Charleston.

The StormTracker 13 VIPIR Real Time Radar indicated the same damage path with the Tornado Debris Signature product shown with the orange-brown path marked on the image below.

Estimated Damage Path from StormTracker 13 VIPIR Real Time Radar

More than 20-thousand people were without power at one point according to AEP, and as of Tuesday evening, work crews had not finished cutting away all of the trees that had caused issues whether on roads, property or power lines.

At it’s widest, the storm reached an estimated 350 yards across, and National Weather Service and StormTracker 13 meteorologists could see evidence of the storm skipping up and down as trees were damaged in one area then another area may have seen no damage only to see more damage in the path of the storm’s travel again.

The Enhanced Fujita scale ranks an EF-1 as a weak tornado in the range of 86-110 mph and the wind estimate is based on a known set of damage comparisons.

StormTracker 13 chief meteorologist Spencer Adkins feels this may be the most well documented tornado in West Virginia history.

“With all of the cameras taking clips and snapshots and people posting this to social media and this happening in a highly populated area, this may be the single most recorded tornado in the state’s history,” he said. “We hope to learn a lot more from all of the images to pair with VIPIR Radar moving ahead.”

So far no injuries have been reported as a result of the storm.

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