CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A powerful storm caused damage across the region Friday night and spawned a possible tornado in the Jarvisville area of Harrison County.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Simone Lewis said the reports of a tornado have yet to be confirmed, but there were indications of one.
“I spoke with the emergency manager, and he has told me that there are hundreds of trees down generally near Jarvisville Road and the Sycamore-Shaw Road area,” Lewis said. “He has told me that from what he can tell, there is a six- to seven-mile swath of damage west of Clarksburg in that Jarvisville Road-Sycamore/Shaws Run Road area.”
Lewis said she was told by the emergency manager that a barn was destroyed in the area. There was also a report of a car being flipped over, but Lewis said she did not have a confirmed location.
“We haven’t gotten any reports of injuries yet,” she said. “We’ve just received hundreds of trees down.”
A National Weather Service tornado warning was in effect at the time, Lewis said.
“The Doppler radar indicated rotation,” she said. “There was a tornado warning on it just west of the area where the damage reports are coming in, so it moved west to east, by the town of Salem and east into the county.”
Pictures of the possible tornado circulated on social media Friday night, and Lewis said the Weather Service had seen those photos.
“It definitely looks like a supercell storm, which is the type that produces tornadoes, but we didn’t really see a clearly defined tornado in those pictures,” she said. “That doesn’t mean one didn’t happen. We just couldn’t see it in them.”
Lewis said the National Weather Service follows protocol to determine whether a tornado occurred.
“We still don’t know for sure if it was a tornado or not,” she said. “We won’t be able to determine that until we receive reports, speak with the emergency manager and probably do an on-site visit.”
The National Weather Service will likely send a team to investigate the damage Saturday, Lewis said.
In Clarksburg, Fire Capt. Steve Pulice said trees and power lines were downed in a way that suggested a wind event.
“I can say that the trees seem to be in a correlated pattern that would correspond with at least a microburst or a line,” Pulice said. “It’s not a widespread thing. It’s a narrow band. But if you track the location of the trees that are down, it does correlate with a straight path.”
The path of downed trees and lines began near the Dollar General store on Milford Street and continued across Elk Creek to River Road and Weekley Street, then towards Locust Avenue near Peck Street, then turned towards the old Anchor Hocking plant, Pulice said. The path of destruction ended around Sycamore Street in Glen Elk, he said.
“If you look geographically on a map, there’s a pattern,” Pulice said. “I can’t say that it was a tornado, but it seems that the focus of the damage was centralized.”
There were also reports of storm damage in Marion County and Monongalia County Friday night.
Friday’s night’s high winds and drenching rain came from the remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy as it moved up from the Gulf Coast.
Friday night’s storm came on the 73rd anniversary of a June 23, 1944, tornado that killed 103 West Virginians, including dozens in Shinnston.