ROANOKE, Va. – After Friday's storms prompted multiple tornado warnings across southwest and central Virginia, the National Weather Service has confirmed that a high-end EF-3 tornado moved through Franklin County.
A tornado touched down just north of Oak Level before moving east toward Sydnorsville and Sontag. Its strongest wind gust was estimated at 159 mph. (That's 9 mph stronger than the tornado that moved into Elon last year.) It moved 8.2 miles with a maximum width of 250 yards.
The scale used to rate tornado strength is called the Enhanced Fujita scale, and it goes as follows:
You can see this storm was actually very close to reaching EF-4 status. The National Weather Service has said that they would be investigating near the Thaxton area and perhaps in Halifax County as well.
This data is still preliminary and subject to change, according to the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.