Severe tornadoes tear through VA

More than 150 injured when three tornadoes hit SE Virginia towns

BY JIM SKILLINGTON | RICHMOND | April 29, 2008


An unusually severe trio of tornadoes struck southeastern Virginia late Monday afternoon turning placid suburban neighborhoods into chaos.

The most serious damage was reported in the Suffolk area, near Norfolk, when a tornado packing winds in excess of 130 mph, stormed through the small town of Rider damaging or destroying many buildings in its wake.

Two other tornadoes were reported in Brunswick County and Colonial Heights, a Richmond suburb.

If the Suffolk tornado is rated as an EF-3, as forecasters now suspect, it will be the strongest tornado to hit the state in nearly 60 years.

Bob Spieldenner of the Virigina Department of Emergency Management said at least 120 were treated in the Suffolk area, nearly 20 more were injured in Colonial Heights, but as of 11 PM no fatalities had been reported.

Virginia Governor Timothy Kane declared a state of emergency in the wake of the storms.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the spate of severe storms. The American Red Cross opened shelters in the region for survivors.

Near Suffolk, the storm broke windows in the Sentara Obici Hospital while nearly destroying a shopping center across the street.


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