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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 06/ 6/2008

Eyewitness Recounts Apparent Tornado Sighting

By Jason Samenow

[5:00 p.m. update: National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in the location described and photographed by eyewitness Jerry Bahorich below. Maximum winds were estimated at 95 mph, the path length was 1.5 miles long and the twister was 50-100 yards wide. The twister crossed the path of a tornado that touched down in the same area less than a month earlier.]

stafford-tornado.jpg
Cell phone photo of apparent tornado spotted in Stafford County June 4. By Jerry Bahorich.

The National Weather Service has been busy visiting the sites of reported tornadoes from June 4 and surveying damage to assess whether the pattern of damage is consistent with a tornado. So far, it has confirmed tornado reports in Calvert County in Md., and Clarke, Culpeper, and Stafford counties in Va. While the NWS has not yet documented the location of the tornado in southern Stafford County, weather buff Jerry Bahorich tells us he was on the scene.

Keep reading for Bahorich's narrative of his experience. See our excessively hot full forecast into next week, and NatCast for tonight's game at Nationals Park.

Bahoric, who frequents the Eastern US Weather Forums, spotted the tornado by accident near the intersection of I-95 and Rt. 17 and captured it on his cell phone. He then posted the photo to the forum along with a narrative of his experience, excerpted here:

{T]here is nothing like seeing one [a tornado] in person. I was awestruck. Right after this pic the rain came in sheets with winds approximated at 70 MPH. In an F-250 with a loaded tool body bed, the whole truck rocked back and forth as I was parked on the side of 95. Then came the debris and shortly thereafter quarter-sized hail. It was brief but so intense that the rush was incredible. I still get goosebumps thinking about it as I pen this post. There were pieces of trees littering Rt 95 like I have never seen before. I am still beside myself.

By Jason Samenow  | June 6, 2008; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Thunderstorms  
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Comments

Guess this means Stafford is the new tornado alley. Second tornado this year in that county, right?

Posted by: wxthr | June 6, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry about having a climate bill this year. The Republicans have filibustered even the feeble Warner-Lieberman bill to death.

Posted by: Steve, Capital Weather Gang | June 6, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

At the base of the tornado awesomely photographed by Mr. Bahorich, is that lightning?

His vivid description really brought home what sounds terrifying, and I thank Jason and him for posting it.

Posted by: jhbyer | June 6, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I think that's a street light actually. Not lightning.

Posted by: kimh | June 6, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

klmh, thanks. That would explain why there's a similar shape in the center, far right.

Posted by: jhbyer | June 6, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

And Mr. Bahorich had the guts to stand there long enough to photograph it....wow!

Posted by: ~sg | June 6, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

AKA: Jerry Bahorich,

sg writes that I had the 'guts to stand there long enough to photograph it' but others (including my fiance') didn't call it 'guts'...and I really didn't even think, I just reacted. I had never seen such a thing in person and, having been a weather fanatic since the blizzard of '79 I couldn't pass up the opportunity to photograph it. It is something I will never, ever forget.

Ps: I will be carrying a standard camera with me from now on since, as wxthr points out, Stafford and vicinity seems to be the new tornado alley! I will be storm chasing supercells the rest of the summer and hope to report back with more photos!

Posted by: Relic_Hunter | June 6, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Might have to change my standard nickname to Tornado_hunter.lol. Anyway, in answer and confirmation to jhbyer & kimh that IS a street light and almost immediately after that photo the lights went dark (making for better photography conditions) AND, AND there was awesome cloud to cloud as well as C to G lightening that would have made such incredible shots...unfortunately not only was the memory full in my camera phone and I was scrambling to erase unecessary photos but then the rain and wind hit making it impossible to both stand on top of the ladder rack or take anymore photos. That first big gust almost blew me off the top of the truck. I'm glad I underestimated the wind speed (so as to actually sound credible) but it actually probably only was about a 70 MPH peak where I was...at the closest I was approx a tenth of a mile from the funnel. Good times and I'm glad that nobody got hurt this time unlike that much stronger one a few weeks ago.

Ps: Thanks, Jason, for the citations.

Posted by: Relic_Hunter | June 6, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

@Relic_Hunter, if I was your fiance, I wouldn't call it guts either. ;-)

Posted by: ~sg | June 6, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if a tornado was confirmed in Falls Church?

Posted by: J. Sager | June 7, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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