SEVERE WEATHER AND FLOODING HIGHLIGHTS
OF THE FALL/WINTER 2005/2006

 

NOVEMBER 2005

Most of the month was quiet, until the 29th, when an active cold front stretched down into the deep south states. The front had a history of severe weather and tornadoes, and pulled in a long fetch of deep Gulf and Atlantic moisture ahead of it . A series of lighter showers the afternoon and evening of the 28th, helped to saturate much of the area along and near the Blue Ridge. More showers and scattered embedded thunderstorms continued ahead of and along the cold front during much of the day on the 29th. The result was 5 to 8 inches of rain along parts of the Blue Ridge, from Watauga County, NC to Amherst County, Virginia. The hardest hit area with flooding was in Amherst County where the Piney River and adjacent streams overflowed their banks. A few roads were completely washed out. The flooding in Amherst County led to more than $300,000 dollars in damages. A gage along the Piney River actually reached its 4th highest level since 1949.

 

DECEMBER 2005

December was free of severe thunderstorms and flooding. However, as is the case normally in the late fall and early winter months, strong cold fronts moving through can bring high winds behind it. This was the case on December 9th, when a front moved through, resulting in a period of strong winds over the high mountains of northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia. Trees were blown down in Watauga and Ashe County in North Carolina, as well as in Grayson County, Virginia. 

Another high wind event occurred December 26th, as low pressure deepened off the northeast U.S. coast. Winds gusted close to 60 mph, in Boone and West Jefferson, NC, while high winds downed trees in Grayson County, Virginia creating power outages throughout the county.

 

JANUARY 2006

January brought a couple more high wind events, as well as a few severe thunderstorms. An area of thunderstorms ahead of a cold front moved through northwest North Carolina during the evening of the 13th. Some of these storms brought damaging winds to the northwest Piedmont, with trees blown down in southwestern Stokes County, NC, and near Boonville in Yadkin County, NC. 

Once the front moved through during the early morning of the 14th, winds picked up considerably. Much of the area (29 counties) experienced these strong wind gusts, which blew down trees throughout the mountains and foothills of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina. In addition, power lines were downed resulting in numerous power outages.

Yet another cold front swept through on the evening of the 24th, but the strong winds behind it were confined to Ashe and Watuaga county in northwest North Carolina. Trees were felled once again in both counties, but moreso in Ashe county.

 

FEBRUARY 2006

February was generally quiet, except the 4th. That day, a strong cold front crossed the mountains, with a line of thunderstorms forming along and ahead of it. One storm moved into Western Pittsylvania county in southside Virginia spawning a tornado. This tornado initially touched down about 2 miles southeast of the town of Callands, then proceeded north-northeast for 2 miles, crossing Highway 57, before dissipating northwest of Rondo. This tornado was on the ground for about 5 minutes. Another seperate tornado briefly touched down about two miles northeast of the end of the first track tornado. Damage with the first tornado was considered to be related to F0 to F1 variety, with the second tornado F0. The first tornado, besides downing trees, also toppled over a brick chimney, stripped off vinyl siding, destroyed a storage shed, and removed a well built wood frame carport from the side of a house and carried it about 50 feet away. The second brief tornado downed several trees as well, and blew the aluminum roofing off a barn.

Besides the two tornadoes, there was also isolated straight line wind damage in southside Virginia, with trees down.

 

MARCH 2006

March was more like a lamb, than a lion, as the area remained in a moderate drought. No severe storms or flooding occurred. However, there was one high wind event late on the 2nd into the morning of the 3rd. A cold front moved through during the evening on the 2nd. Again strong winds rushed into the higher terrain of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina. Only isolated wind damage reports happened with a tree or two down near Fancy Gap and Galax, Virginia, as well as a tree and power pole down in Jefferson, North Carolina. Wind equipment at the airport in West Jefferson, NC measured a wind speed of 66 mph just before midnight on the 2nd.