Tornadoes sweep through region
A cleanup is underway after powerful tornadoes ripped through the area Wednesday.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency Thursday after severe storms and tornadoes pounded the state, reportedly killing at least five people and causing widespread damage yesterday and this morning.
But it wasn’t just Virginia. The wild weather swept through the entire region, causing tree branches to fall, power outages and damage to homes.
One of the hardest hit areas is Bristow in Prince William County. The force of the wind sent a chair through Doug Williams front window.
“I grabbed the cat and ran down the stairs, hit the basement,” said Williams. In seconds powerful winds bent street lights, mangled a fence and ripped a roof from a house.
All around this neighborhood you find pockets of damage. The hood of a corvette thrown into a neighbor's vehicle, a tree crushed a mini-van. Mike Meier had the gutters ripped from his house. His gas grill and everything else on his front porch, including lawn furniture, was swept into a neighbor’s fence.
But the worst damage was reserved for his Dodge minivan, which was demolished when most of a tree landed on it. “If it had been over a little further, it could have taken the whole house out, so somebody was helping us somewhere,” he said. “Thank god.”Mike Meier’s crushed vehicle.
The storm roared across Upper Montgomery County and through Urbana in Frederick County as well. Rain came down in sheets, along with the possibility of more tornadoes.
The storm was terrifying for Mary Fulmer and her friend Debbie Kettell. They were both driving school buses loaded with high school students when the storm hit.
“It was terrible,” Kettell said. “It was raining so hard you couldn't see. We were scared for the children we were scared ourselves. I'm still nervous.”
Thursday’s state of emergency declaration in Virginia was issued after multiple fatalities occurred in the Glade Spring area in Washington County.
A county emergency official says a storm hit a truck stop and several mobile homes and houses around 1:30 a.m.
Several people were injured and several others are missing.
Halifax County Emergency Services Deputy Coordinator Chad Loftis said early Thursday that the body of a woman was found in a road there. Seven others were injured.
A Shenandoah County emergency spokeswoman says storms early Thursday caused significant damage in the southwestern part of the county. One person was injured.
Utilities report more than 33,000 customers are without electricity.
Back in Maryland, fields and roads flooded and the rushing water nearly toppled a bridge in Northeast Frederick County. On 335 at the Monocacy Battlefield south of Frederick, a swollen stream overwhelmed the roadway and got so deep that jet skis in Gus Stephen’s yard almost began to float away.
“I was beginning to wonder when it did stop, I thought, man is it coming much farther or what?” he asked.