Straight line winds — not tornadoes — caused Thursday night’s damage

Weather damage, 6/17/16

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — So, what happened last night? Severe thunderstorms ripped through Central Virginia, leaving close to 200,000 people without power Thursday night.

According to 8News’s Katie Dupree, “straight-line winds” are to blame for all the damage that occurred in Central Virginia Thursday night.

Straight-line winds occur when a line of storms that connects and covers a large path from north to south forms a bow shape on the radar.

Weather damage, 6/17/16

When this occurs, the middle part of the bow produces extremely damaging straight line winds. The strongest winds occur at the center of the bow and they jut out ahead of the other parts of the storm. This type of storm can sometimes form tornadoes, but this was not the case last night.

While the winds didn’t funnel the way tornado winds do, the wind speed was similarly high. Official reports said wind speeds reached up to 67mph in Meadowville, 60mph at Richmond International Raceway, and 58mph at Hanover Airport. Other reports indicated two inches of hail fell in Ladysmith, and trees were down everywhere.

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