Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through Virginia

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Virginia's governor has declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of the powerful storms.

    Powerful storms and tornadoes killed at least five people in Virginia and left more than 33,000 customers without electricity.

    Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency Thursday morning, authorizing state agencies to assist local officials in response and recover efforts.

    State emergency management spokesman Bob Spieldenner told the Associated Press that several people were killed early Thursday at a truck stop and mobile home park in Washington County. He didn't have an exact number of fatalities. There also were multiple injuries.

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    Virginia emergency management officials originally reported seven deaths in Washington County, but that has been reduced to four. Apparently there was a double count of some victims due to communication problems.

    Halifax County Emergency Services Deputy Coordinator Chad Loftis said early Thursday that the body of a woman was found in a road there. Seven others were injured.

    Shenandoah County emergency operations spokeswoman Mary Beth Price said storms early Thursday caused significant damage in the southwestern part of the county. One person was injured.

    NBC Washington's Julie Carey reported that a tornado cut a 23-mile path of damage through a mostly rural area of Shenandoah County. In addition to a poultry farm that was wiped out, six homes sustained major damage and 10 homes sustained minor damage. Two people suffered injuries and were taken to the hospital.

    A powerful line of isolated thunderstorms rapidly swept through Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland early Thursday morning, triggering multiple tornado warnings, reports of funnel cloud sightings and flooding.

    This was associated with a strong cold front which also triggered widespread damage and fatalities in parts of the South Wednesday afternoon and evening, according to NBC Washington meteorologist Tom Kierein.

    The storms that killed more than 200 people in the South swept through our region late Thursday morning and early afternoon. From 5 p.m. Wednesday to 5 p.m. Thursday, there were seven reports of tornadoes, two reports of hail and 23 reports of wind damage in our area, NBC Washington Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer reported.

    A National Weather Service tornado watch for the entire NBC Washington viewing area expired at 3 p.m. Thursday.

    A flood warning for Albermarle, Greene, Nelson, Culpeper, Fauquier, Loudoun, Clarke, Madison, Rappahannock and Jefferson counties expired at 2:45 p.m. A warning for Montgomery, Carroll, Frederick, Baltimore and Harford counties expired at 3:15 p.m.

    The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood advisory for the D.C. area until 8 p.m.

    After the storms rolled through, there was a clearing, and the air will turn much cooler tonight, and temperatures will plummet into the 40s by dawn Friday.

    It looks like a needed and welcome period of dry weather will be in place Friday through Sunday, with warmer temperatures likely on Saturday and Sunday into the 70s along with sunshine.

    It was a busy Wednesday night and Thursday morning of severe weather in the D.C. area, with several reports of tornadoes and funnel clouds spotted in Maryland and Virginia Wednesday night.

    There were about 130 reports of tornadoes across the U.S. in about 24 hours -- mainly associated with southern storms that were headed to the D.C. area Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning.

    Trained storm spotters confirmed that Wednesday's tornadoes touched down about one mile west of Quantico, Va., around 6:15 p.m. and then near Stafford., Va., not long after. A funnel cloud was sighted near Accokeek, Md.

    Prince George's County Fire/EMS responded to a report of a possible tornado touchdown near Andrews Air Force Base between 7:20 p.m. and 7:36 p.m. There were no serious injuries related to the storm, and no significant structural damage was reported at the time.  A tree branch fell on a roof in the 6900 block of Berkshire Drive and an overhead sign fell at the Allentown Road entrance to Andrews.

    A possible tornado was also spotted in Oxon Hill, Md., at about 7:50 p.m. No injuries have been reported, with only minimal damage.

    Trained spotters in Maryland sighted funnel clouds in Frederick and Howard counties, but no injuries were reported, according to the National Weather Service.

    The National Weather Service received a report of a funnel cloud over Point of Rocks in Frederick County, Md., about 7 a.m. Thursday. It said trees are also down in Beallsville in Montgomery
    County.

    The National Weather Service said the Conococheague Creek at Fairview in western Maryland will rise above its 10-foot flood stage late Thursday afternoon and crest near 11.5 feet overnight.

    It was nine years ago Thursday when a devastating tornado ripped through La Plata, Md., killing four. 

    If you have weather-related pictures you'd like to share, you can email them to isee@nbcwashington.com.


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