The October 26th-27th Tornadic Storms over the North Carolina and Virginia Piedmont

***Note: This page will be updated with maps, photos and weather features through early November***

Two episodes of severe weather occurred over the same general area during the late evening of the 26th into the early morning of the 27th, and again during the afternoon of the 27th.

A strong, rare low pressure center over the upper midwest brought a cold front into the Appalachians along with a 50-60 knot low level jet during October 26th-27th. The strong wind fields along with high low-level helicities, led to a favorable environment for rotating thunderstorms. A broken line of thunderstorms arrived into the North Carolina foothills and piedmont late Tuesday evening, October 26th. Supercells formed ahead of this and moved rapidly northeast into Stokes and Rockingham County, NC and into southside Virginia from before midnight through about 200 to 300 am October 27th. The cold front stalled across the Blue Ridge October 27th, leading to more storms firing in the afternoon of the 27th over the same general area.

 

FOR REFERENCE...THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO
THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

EF0...WIND SPEEDS 65 TO 85 MPH.
EF1...WIND SPEEDS 86 TO 110 MPH.
EF2...WIND SPEEDS 111 TO 135 MPH.
EF3...WIND SPEEDS 136 TO 165 MPH.
EF4...WIND SPEEDS 166 TO 200 MPH.
EF5...WIND SPEEDS GREATER THAN 200 MPH.





  ...TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR KING IN STOKES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA...

LOCATION...KING IN STOKES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA
DATE...10/26/2010
ESTIMATED TIME...1114 PM EDT TO 1117 PM EDT
MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF1
ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...100
MPH MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...200 YARDS PATH LENGTH...2.25 MILES
BEGINNING LAT/LON...36.343 / -80.295 ENDING LAT/LON...36.363/-80.263
* FATALITIES...0
* INJURIES...0

* THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO
CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN NWS
STORM DATA.

...SUMMARY...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BLACKSBURG VA HAS CONFIRMED A
TORNADO NEAR KING IN STOKES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA ON 10/26/2010.

THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN ON MOUNTAIN VIEW CHURCH ROAD AS AN EF0.
IT THEN TRACKED NORTHEAST INCREASING IN STRENGTH AND REACHING ITS
MAXIMUM STRENGTH AND WIDTH AT FLAT SHOALS ROAD. THE TORNADO
CONTINUED TO MOVE NORTHEAST AND DISSIPATED AS IT PASSED SIZEMORE
ROAD. THE TORNADO PRODUCED A WIDE SWATH OF TREE DAMAGE...WITH THE
TOPS OF MANY PINE TREES SNAPPED OFF. THERE WAS SOME MINOR
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE AS WELL...WITH THE ROOFS OF A FEW BARNS BLOWN
OFF AND THROWN A COUPLE HUNDRED FEET. A CAR PORT ALSO COLLAPSED
CRUSHING A CAR.



View King - Hanging Rock, NC Tornado, Oct. 26th, 2010 in a larger map
The radar images below show how difficult it can be to detect tornadoes via radar. The image on the right shows the relative motion within the thunderstorm, with red colors depicting motion away from the Blacksburg Radar to the northwest and green showing motion toward the radar. Arrow depicts circulation and point where tornado was at 1116 PM EDT. This is the radar reflectivity image showing the storm structure.This is the radar storm relative velocity image showing the rotation.
...TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR AIKEN SUMMIT IN HENRY COUNTY AND PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY VIRGINIA... LOCATION...AIKEN SUMMIT IN HENRY COUNTY VIRGINIA DATE...OCTOBER 27 2010 ESTIMATED TIME...1214 AM EDT TO 1223 AM EDT MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF0 ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...85 MPH MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...200 YARDS PATH LENGTH...5.4 MILES BEGINNING LAT/LON...36.6013/-79.7200 ENDING LAT/LON...36.649/079.642 * FATALITIES...0 * INJURIES...0 * THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN NWS STORM DATA. ...SUMMARY... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BLACKSBURG VA HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO BEGINNING NEAR AIKEN SUMMIT IN HENRY COUNTY VIRGINIA ON OCTOBER 27 2010. THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN ON IRISBURG ROAD AND WAS INTERMITTENTLY ON THE GROUND FOR OVER 5 MILES AS IT TRAVELED NORTHEAST BEFORE FINALLY LIFTING ON PEACH ORCHARD ROAD IN PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY. SEVERAL TREES WERE DAMAGED OR SNAPPED AND THERE WERE FIVE OUTBUILDINGS DAMAGED. THREE HOMES ALSO RECEIVED MINOR DAMAGE. THE DAMAGE WIDTH OF ABOUT 100 YARDS WIDE WHERE THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN...AND GREW TO ABOUT 200 YARDS WIDE WHEN IT LIFTED.
View Aiken Summit Area Tornado in a larger map
These are the radar reflectivity and storm relative motion images taken from the Blacksburg Radar at 1211 AM EDT, 3 minute prior to initial tornado touchdown near Aiken Summit.
Radar Reflectivity image of Storm, before tornado touchdown near Aiken Summit.Radar Storm Relative Motion image of Storm, before tornado touchdown near Aiken Summit.
...TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR 3 NW VIRGILINA IN HALIFAX COUNTY VIRGINIA... LOCATION...3 NW VIRGILINA IN HALIFAX COUNTY VIRGINIA DATE...OCTOBER 27 2010 ESTIMATED TIME...252 AM EDT MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF2 ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...120 MPH MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...100 TO 200 YARDS PATH LENGTH...4 MILES BEGINNING LAT/LON...36.5725/-78.8833 ENDING LAT/LON...36.6078/-78.819 * FATALITIES...0 * INJURIES...0 * THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN NWS STORM DATA. ...SUMMARY... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BLACKSBURG VA HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO NEAR 3 NW VIRGILINA IN HALIFAX COUNTY VIRGINIA ON OCTOBER 27 2010. TORNADO INITIALLY TOUCHED DOWN NEAR HIGHWAY 96 IN THE MAYO COMMUNITY AND CONTINUED INTERMITTENTLY ON THE GROUND MOVING NORTHEAST FOR APPROXIMATELY A MILE...DESTROYING ONE BARN...BLOWING SEVERAL ROOFS OFF SHEDS...MOVING ONE HOUSE OFF ITS FOUNDATION... AND DOWNING HUNDREDS OF TREES. THERE WAS SPORADIC EF0 TO EF1 DAMAGE IN THIS MILE OF THE TRACK. THE TORNADO STRENGTHENED...WITH EF2 DAMAGE...ALONG A CONTINUOUS PATH OF 2 MILES FROM WATTS TRAIL THROUGH NORTH FORK CHURCH ROAD...TO SHORTLY BEFORE LOWERY ROAD. APPROXIMATELY FIFTEEN TELEPHONE POLE WERE SNAPPED OFF. THOUSANDS OF TREES WERE DOWNED. THREE HOMES WERE DAMAGED...WITH WINDOWS BLOWN OUT...ROOFS DAMAGED...OR TREES FALLING ON THEM. NUMEROUS BARNS AND OUTBUILDING WERE DESTROYED. THE TORNADO THEN CONTINUED NORTHEAST WEAKENING TO SPORADIC EF0 OR EF1 DAMAGE TO LOWERY ROAD...BEFORE LIFTING AT LOWERY ROAD AT 302 AM EDT. NEAR LOWERY ROAD...ONE RESIDENCE WAS DAMAGED...WITH WINDOWS BLOWN OUT...ROOF DAMAGE...2 BARNS AND 3 OUTBUILDINGS DESTROYED...AND SEVERAL LARGE TREES DOWNED. THE NWS WOULD LIKE TO THANK HALIFAX COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES FOR THEIR HELP IN THE STORM SURVEY.
View Virgilina Area Tornado in a larger map Radar images below from the radar near Raleigh, NC, indicating strong rotation northwest of Virgilina, Virginia in Halifax County. Radar Reflectivity image of the tornadic storm northwest of Virgilina, VirginiaRadar image display showing the storm relative motion, and the strong rotation northwest of Virgilina, Virginia
...TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR KING IN STOKES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA... LOCATION...KING IN STOKES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA DATE...OCTOBER 27 2010 ESTIMATED TIME...705 PM EDT MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF1 ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...90 TO 100 MPH MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...150 TO 200 YARDS PATH LENGTH...0.75 MILE BEGINNING LAT/LON...36.2615/-80.3581 ENDING LAT/LON...36.2667/-80.3462 * FATALITIES...0 * INJURIES...0 * THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN NWS STORM DATA. ...SUMMARY... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BLACKSBURG VA HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO NEAR KING IN STOKES COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA ON OCTOBER 27 2010. THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN NEAR KENNSINGTON AVE THEN TRACKED NORTHEAST TO SPAINHOUR RD...WITH INTERMITTENT TOUCHDOWNS IN BETWEEN. 25 HOMES WERE DAMAGED. MOST OF THE DAMAGE WAS IN THE FORREST OAKS COMMUNITY...WITH SEVERAL LARGE OAK TREES UPROOTED...6 ROOFS WERE PARTIALLY TORN OFF...AND A FEW GARAGE DOORS BLOWN IN. AT THE END OF THE PATH WHERE THE TORNADO LIFTED FOR THE LAST TIME CLOSE TO SPAINHOUR ROAD...A LARGE WOODEN SHED WAS FLIPPED OVER ONTO ITS ROOF...AND SEVERAL 1 FOOT DIAMETER TREES WERE SNAPPED OFF AT THEIR BASE.
View King, NC Tornado October 27th in a larger map Blacksburg Radar Displaying, showing the reflectivity on the left and storm relative motion on the right, of the tornadic storm before it hit King, NC. Radar Reflectivity image of storm that brought an  EF-1 Tornado to King, NC.Radar Storm Motion image displaying rotation before an  EF-1 Tornado hit King, NC.