On June 2nd, 1998, a severe thunderstorm formed in southeast Ohio and raced southeast through the US-35 corridor before entering the Kanawha Valley.
During the storm’s trek across the region, four tornadoes were spawned and around 10,000 insurance claims were filed on homes and vehicles – mostly due to large hail damaging property. Most of the damage was from large hail hitting urban areas, such as the Kanawha City area.
The tornado crossed from southeast Ohio into the Mason and Putnam county areas, about 2 miles west of Pliny and uprooted trees mainly near and south of County Route 9. Large trees were uprooted along Mount Union Ridge. One mobile home was destroyed, and one man was injured when a large tree hit his van, trapping him inside in Mason County.
Hundreds of vehicles were dented, including new cars at dealerships. Roofs, plus west-facing siding and windows were also damaged. Large trees were also uprooted or snapped.
The largest concentration of tree damage was from the South Hills and Kanawha City areas over to Malden.
One large tree damaged a church and another tree heavily damaged a home along Lower Donnally Road.
The largest insurance company reported a total of about 10,000 claims for homes and vehicles.
One business owner in Kanawha City said “I never saw anything like this before. I never thought I’d go through this in West Virginia.”
A middle school in Kanawha City was about to let go of students before the storm hit, and instead, the staff and students took shelter in the interior hallways of the school.
The warnings and actions by citizens of the Kanawha Valley prevented any injuries from this powerful storm.
TORNADOES IN OUR REGION ON JUNE 2ND, 1998
- 1:50 p.m. – Gallipolis – Gallia County, OH – EF-0 Tornado – 40 yards wide – 0.3 miles long
- 2:15 p.m. – Apple Grove & Pliny areas – Mason & Putnam County, WV – EF-1 – 40 yard wide – 3.5 miles long
- 2:58 p.m. – Kanawha City – Kanawha County – EF-1 – 80 yards wide – 1.5 miles long
- 3:19 p.m. – Leewood – Kanawha County – EF-0 – 60 yards wide – 0.5 miles long