Storms headed for Suffolk

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Storm: A storm system is headed Suffolk’s way on the third anniversary of the tornado that blew through the city in 2008.

Meteorologists are calling for a bout of severe weather on the third anniversary of a devastating tornado that wrecked hundreds of homes and businesses in 2008.

A line of storms moving ahead of a cold front is expected to bring Suffolk early morning showers and severe thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. A meteorologist said Wednesday there’s a good chance Suffolk will be under a tornado watch for most of the day.

“Part of this system is what’s causing the severe weather outbreak” that has affected states to the west, said James Foster of the National Weather Service in Wakefield. “There’s a good possibility we’ll be put in a tornado watch,” he added, especially considering the system’s history.

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On Wednesday night, most of the state already was under a tornado watch, with some areas seeing tornado warnings or severe thunderstorm warnings.

The main threats for Suffolk on Thursday will be frequent lightning, damaging wind gusts and large hail. Foster estimated the chance of precipitation at 80 percent.

The same storm system has ripped through the South in recent days, damaging hundreds of buildings and causing at least a dozen deaths in Alabama alone.

The storms are set to hit Suffolk on the third anniversary of a tornado that pummeled the city on April 28, 2008, causing extensive damage to homes and businesses in the Elephant’s Fork, Burnett’s Mill, Hillpoint and Driver areas of the city.