Multiple tornadoes have been reported from Virginia and surrounding areas. Home video of tornadoes have already been shown on local networks and there were chasers on these storms. Post your first hand chase reports here!
Virginia Tornadic Outbreak: Chase Report September 18, 2004
I was expecting possible Hurricane Ivan associated tornadoes across central
Virginia and already had my equipment ready. The remnants of Ivan were expected
to drift into southwestern-southcentral Virginia. Ahead of Ivan, surface
winds would be from the southeast while upper level winds would be from the
southwest. This change in direction with height would lead to increased shear,
helicities up to 300 m2/s2 and the potential for rotating storms. By early
afternoon, the skies had mostly cleared across Richmond. This would be an explosive
day. A Moderate Risk was already issued for portions of southern Virginia. My
initial target area was just north of Richmond with the best combination of
shear, instability and isolated storms. I planned to leave work at about 2:30PM.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was stuck at work until 4:45PM.
This was frustrating as I wasn't doing anything. I could see sharp convection to
the northeast. Tornado warnings being issued for multiple storms. When I
finally was able to leave, multiple storms were forming across the area and racing
northward. Many were rotating. I was already "behind the eight ball" and
would also have to fight rush hour traffic. A final check of the radar revealed a
tornado-warned storm in Chesterfield moving north. I blasted west on I-64 and
Route 250 (Broad Street) to intercept the storm. I arrived in Short Pump at
about 5:05PM. The traffic in that area is miserable during rush hour. Looking
northeast from the mall, I could see a
possible wall cloud with some rotation. It was rapidly moving northward and
soon disappeared from view behind the rain. (I have recently heard of damage in
that area (Innsbrook area, no tornado is confirmed). The local television
stations were giving continuous weather updates and live-shots of radar. Another
storm was forming to the east. I turned on to I-64 and then I-295 heading
east. At 5:26PM, I could see a
suspicious lowering to the northeast. I turned east on 54 and north on 301.
The storms were racing northward at 40 miles per hour. Route 301 turned
northeast in Fort A.P. Hill. I crossed the Rappahannock River at 6:35PM after passing
through Port Royal.
distant lowering/possible tornado. (no thumb nails of enhanced image) I
continued northeast on 301, then north on 611 and 610. When I reached the narrow
east-west road (218) that borders the Potomac River, the storm was too far away.
The chase was over. I headed west on 218 and was blocked by a damage path
just east of Fairview Beach. I suspect this was from the storm I observed from
the 301 bridge across the Rappahannock River. Luckily, a friendly local showed
me a shortcut that was not marked on my map and I was able to continue west to
Fredricksburg then south to my home in Richmond.
I saw some great storms but missed good views of tornadoes because of my late
start and very rapid storm motion. I did see some storm structure, wall
clouds and possibly a distant view of a tornado in King George County. Chasing
hurricane related storms in the east difficult but possible and rewarding. Some
other chasers (and locals) obtained amazing video of tornadoes in Virginia from
I've always had ongoing dreams of tornado touchdowns near my house... it happened on September 17, 2004...
I spent most of the day in Fauquier/caught the Remington nado from a nice vantage point on a tall hill. The Remington tornado was the first VA tornado I had ever seen. So, I called it a good day and headed home to my house in Chantilly. On the way, I just happened to run across another tornado... it was practically tearing through my backyard. It was an F2 atm. Shot from I-66 looking north...