A Deeper Dive into the Recent EF-2 Tornado in Bedford County


Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of Beyond The Forecast!

Some Bedford County residents were picking up the pieces this weekend after an EF-2 tornado ripped through the area. The images of damage to homes and trees in the area are truly heartbreaking.

I want to use the space in this newsletter to talk more about the storm investigation and the formation of this tornado.

One of the main ingredients of the atmosphere necessary for the formation of a tornado is wind shear. We can determine wind shear by comparing surface winds to stronger winds aloft.

Wind shear creates a rotating column of air.

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A thunderstorm and its updrafts are able to use this rotating column of air to create a wall cloud.

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The rotating column of air will continue to accumulate downward. If it hits the ground, it’s called a tornado. Otherwise, it is a funnel cloud.

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The tornado therefore moved and caused destruction on Friday. We were only able to determine the tornado’s elevation and wind speed after a storm investigation was completed.

The survey was carried out on Saturday by meteorologists from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Blacksburg. They confirmed a tornado by looking at the damage strip.

You can compare the damage from downbursts and straight-line winds to what was seen in Bedford County.

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Meteorologists looked at damage and radar data to estimate peak wind gusts. They say the tornado had wind gusts of 135 miles per hour, which is an EF-2 rating.

The storm was on the ground for more than six miles and was more than three football fields wide. Luckily he didn’t kill anyone but injured two people.

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It was the eleventh tornado in Bedford County since 1950, according to Reggie Roakes at NWS Blacksburg. Bedford County was a relative hotspot for tornadoes during this time, along with Campbell, Pittsylvania, and Halifax counties.

Areas west of Blue Ridge Parkway aren’t as prone to tornadoes, but they still happen!

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Should another tornado threat materialize, we will be sure to let you know. Here at your local weather authority, we hope those affected by the recent tornado in Bedford County can make a speedy recovery.

You can always get specific forecast details for your area, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Southside, Highlands, or elsewhere around the Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!

In case you missed it, we publish great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are some links from last week to check out:

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If you prefer to have your weather information provided by social media, you can follow your local weather authority on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also follow me on social networks. I’m on facebook, TwitterInstagram and TikTok, follow us!

–Justin McKee

Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.

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