BEDFORD CO., Va. (WDBJ7) The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF-0 tornado touched down in Bedford County on Friday.
The tornado caused minimal damage near the Turning Tide Road area of Moneta. The tornado was 100 yards wide and .3 miles long.
The tornado touched down for just two minutes from 4:04 to 4:06 a.m. It touched down after a thunderstorm went through Smith Mountain Lake. The tornado uprooted and snapped trees, as well as producing minor structural damage to houses.
Wind speeds between 65 to 85 mph classified the tornado as an EF-0. The estimated maximum wind speed was 85 miles per hour. No one was injured.
More information can be found on the National Weather Service's website.
The tornado touched down just a few miles on the other side of the lake from Bridgewater Plaza. The storm that created a tornado in North Carolina merged with another that dropped this one at the lake.
"I'm seeing enough evidence where it's leaning more toward a tornado," National Weather Service Science Officer Steve Keighton said.
Keighton was on the ground along Turning Tide Road making calculations and taking pictures of damage. There's fancy models and computers but getting boots on the ground is how they do it.
"At least right here I'm seeing a little bit more concentrated damage and trees that are actually knocked down at least across the path if not some back in the opposite direction that the storm was moving," Keighton said.
Talking to neighbors who know the area well helps. They tell you things like a boat that looks damaged from the storm has actually been in the water for months.
"It's kind of an educated guess, determining a tornado versus not is sometime relatively easy but if it's a fast moving storm and it's a weak tornado that can be difficult too," Keighton said.
And that's just what it was. His observations confirmed that storm dropped an EF-0 tornado Friday morning. Only about 100 yards wide and on the ground for just over a quarter mile, causing minor damage to these homes.
Neighbors are now cleaning it all up.It's not the way they expected to start the season, but they're thankful no one was hurt.
Although this tornado was small, the weather service says its just as important to survey as all the rest.