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    Gusty storm line knocks out power to almost 60,000; possible tornado in Salem

    By Kevin Myatt,

    17 days ago

    A gusty line of thunderstorms knocked power out to nearly 60,000 utility customers in Virginia as of 8 p.m. Sunday, the vast majority of them in Southwest Virginia west of the Blue Ridge.

    At least one person was injured when a tree blew into an occupied tent at Pearisburg in Giles County, according to a report received by the National Weather Service. Also, video posted on X by eye surgeon Tyler Anderson seems to suggest a brief tornado may have occurred in Salem, with video posted by Zach Breyan showing a chaotic scene of damage along Riverside Drive in the city. A National Weather Service survey will look more closely into the possibility that a tornado occurred in Salem.

    More than 7,300 utility customers in Giles County, out of nearly 10,000 tracked by , were without power at mid-evening Sunday.  Just over half of all electrical customers in Pulaski County — 9,894 of 19,337 — were in the dark, according to the utility data aggregator.

    Over 3,000 customers were without power in Roanoke County, Botetourt County and Wythe County, with between 1,000 and 3,000 out in Roanoke city plus Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell, Dickenson, Smyth, Washington, Bland, Franklin, Bedford, Rockbridge and Campbell counties. Power outages in the hundreds were scattered across several other localtiies for a total of 58,234 just after 8 p.m.

    The line entered the southwest tip of the state at Lee County shortly after 2 p.m. and was moving into Central Virginia by 8 p.m.

    The storm cluster originated over the central U.S., spawning numerous tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas, before tracking across Kentucky — where more than 150,000 remained without power after a peak of over 200,000 — as more of a windy squall line. It is possible the duration and severity of wind damage reports will qualify the line as a derecho, officially.

    Wind gusts commonly exceeding 45 mph and sometimes exceeding 60 mph resulted in downed trees across many localities of Southwest Virginia and as far east as Campbell County. Storm effects seem to weaken toward the east as the line also lifted a little northward, leaving some Southside areas near the North Carolina line virtually untouched by the damaging winds.

    Additional storms developing in Missouri late Sunday are expected to track across Kentucky in a similar manner as the prior line and arrive in Virginia early on Memorial Day. This line is unlikely to be as damaging arriving at the coolest part of the 24-hour cycle near or before sunrise and the atmosphere also having been worked over by Sunday evening’s thunderstorms.

    New storms may develop during the day Monday, especially along and east of the Blue Ridge, which could become severe with damaging winds and hail in some spots.

    A cold front will bring much cooler and drier weather for most of the remainder of this week after Memorial Day.
    A squall line approaches the Roanoke Valley early Sunday evening. Photo by Kevin Myatt.

    The post Gusty storm line knocks out power to almost 60,000; possible tornado in Salem appeared first on Cardinal News .

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