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Thursday’s Jackson County tornado confirmed

RIPLEY, W.Va. — Jackson County residents are starting to report damage from last week’s storms, which the National Weather Service recently confirmed included a tornado near Kenna.

The EF-1 tornado, with maximum wind speed of approximately 90 mph, occurred around 5:07 a.m. Thursday on Blackberry Road about two-and-a-half miles southwest of Kenna, according to a public statement from the weather service. The tornado, which lasted approximately one minute, lifted a singlewide trailer off its foundation and rolled it, leaving two people inside with minor injuries.

There were also “a few large trees uprooted and several trees snapped at the trunk” in the vicinity, said Kevin McGrath, a meteorologist with the weather service in Charleston.

The tornado was about 20 yards at its widest point, and traveled a distance of 100 yards, according to the statement.

“It was a fairly small one as tornadoes go,” McGrath said.

The National Weather Service also confirmed a microburst – a brief, concentrated downdraft – near Stinson in Calhoun County around the same time. Estimated maximum wind speeds topped 100 mph.

“A large swath of trees were snapped at the trunk along the hillside to the west of Mud Fork road,” the statement says, adding that a few small outbuildings were damaged by falling trees.

In addition to the tornado, Jackson County was hit by heavy rain and flash flooding, which claimed the life of 4-year-old Eduardo Thomas McMillion of Ravenswood. A funeral for the young Batman fan – survived by his parents, grandparents and multiple great-grandparents and other relatives – is planned for Wednesday evening.

Jackson County 911 Director Walter Smittle said reports of damage to roofs, driveways and culverts and incidents of water in homes are only now starting to be made. He said some people apparently thought their problems weren’t bad enough to notify authorities about, given the struggles other West Virginians are facing in the aftermath of the storms.

“When you start looking at the costs to repair, it can be significant to them,” Smittle said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has contacted county officials and wants to do a damage assessment, Smittle said. Residents who have damage related to the June 23 storms are asked to contact the Jackson County Office of Emergency Services at 304-373-2208 or print a form off the website to submit to the 911 Center at 100 Maple St., Ripley, WV 25271.

“We’re getting (reports) from around the county, moreso from the middle of the county south,” Smittle said.

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