SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia State Police and local law enforcement said a tornado touched down in Southampton County Thursday afternoon as severe thunderstorms passed through the area.
Sgt. Michelle Anaya said state troopers first received word of a tornado on Interstate 95 South in Capron around 1:15 p.m. Additionally, Major Gene Drewery said the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office received about three reports of a tornado in the Adams Groove and Courtland areas.
The National Weather Service has not confirmed any tornadoes in the area and said the damage was caused by straight-line winds. Winds in the area were thought to be at least 70 mph.
Anaya reported storm damage and extensive debris on Route 58 from Franklin to Capron, so much so that the highway was blocked in both directions near Courtland.
Virginia Department of Transportation crews cleared most major debris from the roadway, but there were still downed power lines in parts of the county, Drewery reported late Thursday afternoon.
Route 652 was also shut down and flooded. Other roadways saw golf ball-sized hail. Power lines were down in the area of Rockbridge Road, past Collins Road near Route 308.
Report any road debris or hazardous conditions to VDOT by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).
Major Drewery told WAVY News there was extensive damage to the Mecklenburg power lines that run down Green Plain Roads in the western area of Southampton County. He said at least 10 mainline poles had been broken and power was expected to be out in that area at least overnight.
The public can report power outages by calling this number: 1-877-632-5688.
Sheriff J.B. Stutts said a woman was trapped in her house, with a fallen tree: “That was in Adams Grove. She was able to call the office. She said she was trapped. She couldn’t get out of her house and Fire and Rescue and deputies had to cut the road to clear it.”
An uprooted tree missed a home on Main Street in Capron by inches. The homeowner said he was asleep as the storm approached and moved to the middle of the home after his wife alerted him. Crews worked for much of the afternoon to cut up the tree and haul away debris. The storm also peeled back a portion of the roof and blew the roof off of a garage in the back yard, the man said.
“We’ve seen a lot of trees down. We’ve seen a lot of power lines down. What scared us here at these two locations, this house and the one across, was the lines were down, but the houses still had power,” Stutts said. “There were people walking around, and we were worried about somebody being electrocuted. Dominion Power has come and taken care of the initial problem. They’ll be back later.”
The sheriff’s office reported at least two other homes with storm damage and said they were seeing dime-sized hail in some areas and minor flooding on back roads. Despite the damage, the Sheriff Stutts said he did not receive any reports of injuries.
This is the second day the Hampton Roads area has been hit by strong storms. Wednesday saw reports of power outages, downed trees, and weather-related damage as severe thunderstorms moved through Hampton Roads and Northeast North Carolina.
Super Doppler 10 meteorologists Jeremy Wheeler and Jeff Edmondson are tracking the latest conditions.