Tornado watch expires

Published 2:10 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2016

UPDATED 11:15 p.m.: The tornado watch has expired.

UPDATED 9:15 p.m.: The thunderstorm that prompted the 8:45 p.m. tornado warning has weakened, so the warning has been allowed to expire, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado watch remains in effect until 11 p.m.

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UPDATED 9 p.m.: Storm-related incidents and damage have been relatively minor in Suffolk, despite the city enduring four separate tornado warnings Wednesday.

City spokeswoman Diana Klink said there was a power outage in the Burnett’s Mill neighborhood. Dominion Virginia Power reported 69 customers in Suffolk out of power as of 9 p.m.

In addition, power lines were down in the 2200 block of Wilroy Road, which had been cleared by 9 p.m., and the 100 block of South Fifth Street. A Dominion crew was still on scene at 9 p.m. repairing that line.

A phone line and tree were down in the 6700 block of Everets Road.

Finally, a minor automobile accident took place on Wilroy Road while the area took some of the heaviest storm conditions of the day. However, Klink said, it was unknown if it was related to the weather.

UPDATED 8:50 p.m.: As one band of storms moves away from Suffolk, another is entering from the southwest.

The southwestern portion of the city is under a tornado warning after a tornado was indicated by Doppler radar near Ahoskie at 8:45 p.m. The storm is moving northeast at 60 miles per hour.

The storm will be around Holland and Whaleyville around 9:15 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

UPDATED 8:17 p.m.: The tornado warning over Suffolk has been extended until 8:45 p.m.

Downtown Suffolk experienced heavy hail, some golf-ball-sized, around 8:10 p.m.

The new round of storms is expected to be near Driver and Bowers Hill around 8:20, Churchland and Western Branch around 8:25, downtown Suffolk and King’s Fork around 8:30 and Crittenden around 8:40.

UPDATED 7:42 p.m.: Suffolk is now under a tornado warning for the second time Wednesday.

The warning covers essentially the entire city until 8:15 p.m., when it is expected to expire.

The storm will be around downtown Suffolk around 8:05 p.m., near Driver around 8:10 p.m. and near Bowers Hill and Western Branch around 8:15 p.m.

The warning is the result of Doppler radar indicating a line of severe thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado. The storms are moving approximately 75 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

Hail of one-inch diameter or larger is possible with these storms.

UPDATED 7:20 p.m.: Suffolk may be in for another tornado warning this evening.

Doppler radar indicated a tornado at 7:09 p.m. near Scotland Neck in North Carolina. The storm is moving northeast at 55 miles per hour.

Suffolk residents should be ready to take precautions should the watch currently issued for the city extend into a warning.

UPDATED 3:50 p.m.: The tornado warning that covered portions of Suffolk has been canceled early.

UPDATED 3:40 p.m.: Suffolk Public Schools are sheltering in place until the tornado warning expires, which is set to occur at 4 p.m. No students will be released, not even to parents, and no buses dismissed.

UPDATED 3:30 p.m.: Two tornado warnings has been issued for portions of Suffolk. Take cover now if you’re in the area shown on this map: NWS map.

The storms were indicated by Doppler radar, according to the warning. One storm was moving at 55 miles per hour and was estimated to be at Driver around 3:35 p.m., Suffolk and Crittenden around 3:40 p.m. and Rescue around 3:45 p.m.

The other storm was moving at 50 miles per hour and estimated to be in the Deep Creek, Bowers Hill and Western Branch areas around 3:40 p.m., and Churchland and downtown Portsmouth around 3:45 p.m.

UPDATED 2:44 p.m.: Nansemond-Suffolk Academy has canceled all after-school activities due to the impending weather, according to spokeswoman Karen Schompert.

Suffolk Public Schools have not made any changes to after-school activities but are continuing to assess weather updates, according to spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw.

Earlier: The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for the city of Suffolk and surrounding areas until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

There is also a threat of damaging wind gusts of 110 miles per hour or greater, heavy rainfall and flooding, according to a graphic on the National Weather Service Wakefield office’s Facebook page.

The severe weather, which will include severe thunderstorms, is developing ahead of a cold front, according to the graphic.

Local people are encouraged to keep an eye on the weather, monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local television stations for any possible tornado warning and be prepared to take quick action.

A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop. A tornado warning means a tornado has actually been spotted in the area, either on radar or in the sky.

In case of a tornado warning in the area, people should get to an interior room on the first floor of their home or business. Those not in a substantial structure should get to a substantial structure immediately. Avoid windows. Protect yourself against falling debris with a thick blanket or mattress.

Find detailed information on what to do where at this link.