In an instant the calm May 25 evening changed into roaring destruction for families off Preddy Creek Road in Barboursville. At press time on Tuesday, it was unclear whether it was an intense windstorm, tornado or other weather event that pulled numerous large trees up by their roots onto homes, cars, yards and outbuildings. There was only one reported non-lifethreatening injury, according to Greene County Emergency Services Manager Melissa Meador.
She said information, damage reports and pictures were sent to the National Weather Service on Sunday but had not heard from them by press time. The weather service will decide if it needs to make a site visit later this week.
Mark Thomas who lives on Preddy Creek Road said he thinks it was a tornado.
“Everything was really quiet. My wife and I were sitting on the back deck and thought the storm was over. We had just said how peaceful we thought it was,” Thomas said. “And just like that it turned. The wind picked up and there was such noise. They say it sounds like a train when a tornado comes and it really does. There were downed trees all around the yard, on the shed, but the noise of the weather was so loud I never heard one tree itself fall.”
Thomas’s grandchildren, aged 14 and 8, were there and he pushed them into the bathtub and told them to stay there.
“It lasted maybe a minute but it felt so much longer,” he said. “The power pole in my yard looked like it had exploded, but we had power by 7 a.m. [Sunday]. We’re blessed, we’re really blessed.”
Thomas and a neighbor were clearing trees from his yard under abright blue sky on Sunday morning.
“Damage was concentrated to the Preddy Creek Road area between Daniels Road and Walnut Way with reports of pea sized hail in the area adjacent to and behind Terrace Greene,” Meador said. “After making site visits, we’re fortunate we didn’t have additional injuries or fatalities.”
There had been a tornado warning earlier in the evening for the Dyke and Nortonsville areas as a storm came over the mountains from Grottoes.
Meador said residents should sign up for the Emergency Community Notification System— CodeRED—at www.onsolve.com and opt-in to the weather warnings from the National Weather Service.
“I’m very thankful for, and proud of, our local public safety agencies as well as [Virginia Department of Transportation] and [Rappahannock Electric Cooperative] officials for their respective response efforts. It was also wonderful to see neighbors helping neighbors with clean up on Sunday and smiling in the process,” she said. “Unfortunately, I think these types of events are becoming the norm for us as the severity of weather events continues to increase. Our office encourages citizens to be prepared.”
Meador said her office is able to help people be prepared. Call her at (434) 985-5232 or email@example.com for information or to report damage.