Clark County storm damage: NWS to survey area Friday for possible tornado

A tornado is believed to have caused downed trees and power lines, as well as damage to structures and property in southern Clark County on Thursday afternoon, and National Weather Service investigators will survey the area Friday to determine what happened.

  • Heavy rain and wind hit Clark County about 3 p.m.
  • Thousands in Clark and Montgomery counties are without power
  • Reports of damage began about 4:15 p.m.

UPDATE @ 6:40 p.m.: The NWS office in Wilmington will conduct a storm survey in the area near Pitchin in Clark County on Friday in relation to the severe thunderstorms and subsequent damage reported in that area.

Based on damage reports and dual-polarization radar data, it is believed the damage reported was caused by tornado, because of the presence of a lofted debris signature seen on radar and several reports of a funnel cloud in the area, weather service officials said in a prepared statement this evening.

RELATED: Flash flood warnings, wind advisories issued

The damage survey team will work with Clark County Emergency Management and seek to confirm this, and determine details regarding the magnitude and location of the damage.

A second area that may be assessed is extreme northeast Clark County, southeast of Catawba, where a second debris signature was noted on radar. No damage has been reported in this area, however.

A final assessment including results of the survey are expected to be completed and transmitted via a public information statement by Friday evening.

Pitchin Fire Capt. Brian Pauley said poles, trees, fence lines are down on Old Springfield Road and property damage -- including shingle damage to his firehouse -- was confirmed on Selma and Jackson roads.

“People said they heard a freight train,” he said, noting that one of his EMTs said she was awakened by the sound of what she thought was a freight train.

“Can’t say that it was a tornado,” Capt. Pauley said. “Sounds like a classical, but sounds more like heavy straight winds.”

No injuries were reported, he said.

“Everyone’s telling me it came in quick before they even knew what happened,” the captain said.

EARLIER REPORT

Damage was reported on Selma Pike, Old Springfield and Jackson roads near Pitchin about 4:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service is working to determine if a tornado is responsible for the damage.

“A strong line of heavy rain and winds blew through Clark County around 3 p.m.” Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs said.

“Winds picked up on radar show a brief circulation embedded within the line northeast of Pitchin to southwest South Vienna. The circulation only lasted a few minutes.”

Vrydaghs said radar also indicated what is considered a debris signature.

“This signature shows what could be non-meteorological items being lofted into the air.  This is typically an indication a tornado may be occurring,” she said.

RELATED: Flooding, high water affecting area roads

Our news crew on Jackson Road, near Pitchin Road, is reporting that debris, including aluminum, has been deposited into trees.

A fire official, heard on radio emergency dispatch traffic about 4:10 p.m.,  said, “We do have something that has obviously blown through here.”

A second circulation developed further northeast of Clark County in Madison County about 3:30 p.m., prompting a tornado warning for areas north of where damage was reported.

A bus driver reported possibly seeing a funnel cloud near I-70 and U.S. 42, Clark County officials said.

We will update this developing report.

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