A mighty wind

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blown apart: A barn in a field alongside Everets Road was blown apart by high winds Tuesday morning. There were no injuries and no other reports of significant damage throughout the city, though some trees and power lines came down, temporarily cutting power to about 4,500 customers.

Storm blows through Suffolk

Despite official reports that no tornados touched down in Suffolk Tuesday, Mike Joslin said it sure sounded like one came past his store in Everets.

“It sounded like a freight train coming through,” he said, using a description commonly associated with tornados. “Once it went through, there was one tree that had fallen in the road and the barn was blown all to pieces.”

A line of strong thunderstorms blew through the city Tuesday morning, bringing with it tropical-storm-force winds, downed trees and power outages.

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The winds ranged from 50 to 60 miles per hour throughout the day, said meteorologist James Foster of the National Weather Service in Wakefield.

Foster says any damage likely came from high winds.

The barn Joslin referred to stood in a field near his store, but didn’t belong to him. Pieces of it were strewn across a swath of the field, but part still stood in place once the storm had passed.

Joslin was in his store doing dishes at about 11 a.m. when he heard the strong wind. The front door blew open and invited leaves, dirt and other debris inside.

“I thought it was a truck that had pulled up in the lot,” Joslin said.

Dominion Virginia Power worked throughout the day to restore power to more than 4,700 customers who were without power. By 6 p.m., only a handful of homes remained without power, according to the company’s online outage map.

Several schools — including Florence Bowser, Driver, Mack Benn Jr. and Nansemond Parkway elementary schools, John Yeates Middle School and Nansemond River High School — were without power earlier in the afternoon, but electricity was restored to all schools just before 2 p.m.

The National Weather Service office received no reports of hail in the area, even though the same storm system brought hail to the western part of the state.

Suffolk’s weather the rest of the week should be relatively mild, according to the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms are expected on Friday.