Buckhorn Quarter families ride out straight-line winds
Published 10:58 am Friday, July 11, 2014
CAPRON—When the Thursday afternoon storm ripped through Buckhorn Quarter Road, everything became really dark really fast.
Blair Wright, 9, was inside her house and was already scared when she heard what turned out to be the 100-year-old cedar in the front yard snap and hit the front porch. That made it even worse.
“I was crying and I screamed,” she said. “I just started running, and I was worried about my cats.”
Once the storm was over, she did discover that they were safe, hiding under a bed.
Mark Wright, her father, was also home at the time.
“The thing about this storm is that it came on so quick,” he said. “I was outside, and it went from OK to horrendous in less than five minutes.”
Once it got bad, he went back inside and couldn’t help but look out the window, for all of the good that did.
“You couldn’t see anything — the wind and rain were so thick,” he said. “Then came the hail, about the size of a golf ball. We live in a solid home, and you could hear the hail hitting it. I thought it was going to bust through our windows.”
Wright, who experienced Hurricane Isabel in 2003, said the storm reminded him more of that than it did a potential tornado.
“There was serious wind all around,” he said. “I saw the trees just going flat, then I heard one break and hit the house. I was thinking this could be really bad.”
Back in 2003, Isabel had knocked down an oak tree in his backyard, so he’d planted a new one.
“Now that oak is broke in half,” he said.
He said he hadn’t been on the roof yet to take in the full extent of the damage.
Across the street, Viola Worrell was home alone.
“It was just whirling and whirling, like a dust storm outside,” she said. “Then the hail started coming down and was hitting my windows. They say when you see hail, that it was because of a tornado.”
Worrell wasn’t sure what it was, though, as against her better judgment, she went to look out the window.
“I should have ran to the tub, but I was just amazed at the power of nature,” she said. “I was just wowed.”
Looking didn’t do her a lot of good during the height of the storm, though.
“I couldn’t see any of the houses around me,” she said.
Once it settled down, she went outside and saw that the steeple had been blown off the Vincent’s Grove Methodist Church. Then she turned around and saw that there was damage to her roof. Further, her carport had blown away, as had her trampoline.
“I called my neighbor and told them that they needed to get home and make sure everything was all right,” she said.
“I just thank God that everyone was all right,” Worrell continued. “It could have been worse.”
Scott Minnick, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, said he had visited the area to check the damage.
“We just got back,” Minnick said Thursday night. “It was all straight-line wind damage.”
Speeds were estimated for some places to range from 70 to 80 mph.
Straight-line winds travel horizontally, with most everything that is broken ending up laying in the same direction. With tornadoes, there’s evidence of damaged property twisted in different directions.
“It was a pretty strong storm,” Minnick added. “There were several reports of hail 2-inches in diameter.”
Jeff Orrock, a fellow meteorologist, said that today there would be a good chance of rain — 40-50 percent in Western Tidewater. It’ll mostly be scattered storms, with the highest concentration being in the afternoon.
On Saturday, however, the sun should come out sometime during the morning.
At the end of the day, Wright said they were fortunate about one thing.
“The best part was that it didn’t last long,” he said. “The major winds were gone in 5 minutes. If it had continued blowing, exerting that much force, it could have been really bad.”
Staff Writer Stephen H. Cowles contributed to this report.