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A ‘whoosh’ and a ‘bang’: Storms tear down trees, fling furniture at Smith Mountain Lake

Storms rolled through Monday morning before the sun came up

UNION HALL, VA. – Strong-to-severe storms rolled across the region Monday morning and afternoon, and one neighborhood on Smith Mountain Lake in Union Hall saw some isolated damage.

Arlene Blacksburn and her husband usually entertain at their lakefront home, but they never expected to host a crane high in the sky Monday. Their morning started with a wake-up call around four.

“All of a sudden, there was a big ‘whoosh’ and a ‘bang’ and then we started turning on lights around the place,” Blackburn said.

When they looked out the window they saw the damage. A particularly strong cell of storms rolled through, wreaking havoc on an isolated area of the lake. A massive tree crashed down on their shed, their porch overhang support poles bowed out, and many of their items ended up in the lake.

She said the trees were most shocking.

“Trees were twisted, that was the thing I noticed this morning, the branches of very large trees just had twists in them and then the tops of trees were gone,” Blackburn said.

Kent Martin lives in the next cove over from Blackburn. He and his neighbors also saw some damage, including a massive tree that toppled between his house and a neighbors house. They’re both thankful all they needed was a chainsaw to clean up.

“When we got up this morning and looked out and saw what it really had happened it was worse than we thought,” Martin said. “Very strong thunder, wind was really high, it felt almost like some kind of mini twister or something that come through here because a lot of the damage was isolated and in one path.”

The National Weather Service has not said if it was a micro burst or not. Nevertheless, it was a storm strong enough to do some damage.

“I found my grill across the street in at my other neighbors house, so it was an interesting night,” Martin said.

Both Martin and Blackburn said when the sun came up, so did the help.

“It was like an army of people came to help, from our neighbors to the people on Facebook of course asking if they could come by boat,” Blackburn said.

And for that, they’re thankful to call their little slice of lake home.