Glade Creek Volunteer Fire Department

2009 Tornado

May 8, 2009 started like any other day.  It was warm, sunny, and a great day to take a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway.  As the evening sun began to set, the threat of severe weather moving into the mountains from Tennessee looked to be a possibility when the National Weather Service issued a Tornado watch for Northwest North Carolina and Southwest Virginia. 

Then, one lone thunderstorm began making its way through the mountains of Virginia spawning Tornado warnings along the way but no confirmed touchdowns. That same supercell thunderstorm crossed the state line near Osee road and touched down with winds packing nearly 130 mph (EF2).  Four people were inside a mobile home when the tornado hit injuring all four of them.  The tornado continued on damaging homes, buildings and trees as it crossed Highway 18 injuring two more people. 

Finally, when the tornado lifited, a path of debris and destruction was left in its wake.  Unfortunately, six people were injured but no fatalities were reported.

Click here to view a map of the path.

On May 9, 2009, the National Weather Service from Blacksburg, Virginia, sent a survey crew to determine the extent of the damage, size, path, and width of the tornado.  In their briefing, the tornado at the strongest point was 200 yards wide with winds of 110-130 mph.  The path was five miles long and left a trail of destruction.  That put this one particular tornado in the EF2 range of the Enhance Fujita Scale that measures a Tornadoes strength. 

The National Weather Service said large Tornadoes of this size are rare in mountainous terrain but they can develop anywhere at anytime.  This Tornado was the largest one ever to be reported in Alleghany County.

Here's a slide show of the destruction.

Aerial Pictures are courtesy of Tom Fowler.