Authorities identify 78-year-old man killed during severe weather in Appomattox

APPOMATTOX COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Authorities have identified the man killed during a deadly storm in Appomattox  on Wednesday.

State Police say 78-year-old Edward Keith Harris was killed after being thrown from his residence when the tornado struck his mobile home in the Evergreen community. Harris’ wife was among the seven other county residents who were injured.

Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service classified the storm as an EF-3 tornado that produced winds up to 165 mph.

Five of the people injured have been treated and released, according to police. The two others suffered serious injuries and remain hospitalized.

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Governor Terry McAuliffe visited Appomattox Thursday to assess storm damage and meet with first responders. It was the first of many stops for the governor.

During a brief news conference at Evergreen Baptist Church, McAuliffe said when he flew in Thursday morning, there was a trail of damage about 12 to 15 miles long on the ground.

He said the state has 30 days to assess all of the damage and apply for emergency management funds from the federal government.

McAuliffe also commended county and school officials for their decision to keep students in school rather than sending them home during Wednesday’s storm. He said that decision helped limit injuries.

Officials say close to 45 homes were damaged or destroyed, 8News sister station WSLS reports. The Central Baptist Church was among the buildings hit hard by the rough weather; the church had its steeple blown nearly 200 feet away.

Margaret Dinges and her son Steve were inside a truck when the storm flipped it over.

“Steve said hold on and I didn’t hold on cause I didn’t know what he was talking about” said Margaret. ” I looked and saw the camper flying through the air.”

While they were shaken up, the family is thankful they survived.

Seeing the aftermath of mother natures wrath has people sending prayers to Appomattox.

“We are a close community our hearts go out to anyone that has lost their homes or anything in this” said Appomattox resident Susan Shirey.

8News is continuing to follow this developing story. Stay with us for updates.

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