Looking back at 2021′s most notable weather events in southwest, central Virginia

2021 brought everything from ice storms to tornadoes and drought to record warmth

ROANOKE, Va. – If there’s one thing we know about weather in this part of the country, it changes frequently. This past year, it brought us everything from ice storms to tropical remnants, tornadoes to drought and near-record warmth.

As we get set to ring in a new year, we look back at some of the most notable weather we saw in 2021.

February Ice Storms

The winter of 2020-2021, as a whole, didn’t bring a lot of snow to southwest Virginia, but a string of ice storms left parts of the area without power for days. Thousands were in the dark after a February ice storm in Southside. It dropped more than half an inch of ice in the eastern half of the area.

This left Jesse Flack, a Danville Utilities lineman, injured as he tried to restore power. Tina Gauldin, a family friend of Flack’s, told 10 News, “They had to bring him back twice on the way to the hospital and as he thinks about that he is wondering why in the world is he still here. He should be dead.”

Tropical Remnants and Tornadoes


Months later, tropical season arrived and left its mark on the country. Ida was a Category 4 storm that devastated parts of Louisiana and caused catastrophic flooding in the Northeast.

“If you’re not at the right place, you’re a gonner.”

It also left its footprint on the New River Valley with a pair of EF-1 tornadoes. One was caught on camera by Virginia Tech meteorology student, Justin Buchinsky.

Tim Simpkins, a home owner in Montgomery County, says, “We were watching the news and we seen the storm cloud come over the farm.”

The storm damaged a barn and snapped several trees. Thankfully, no one was hurt.


The tropics seemingly and abruptly shut off in the fall, but drought concerns worsened in our area. Nearby, a wildfire burned more than 1,000 acres on Pilot Mountain in North Carolina. At least half our area is currently in a drought with severe conditions across Southside.

Near-Record Warmth

Lastly, Roanoke and Lynchburg are on pace for near-record warmth again. 2021 will go down as one of the warmest years on record in the Star City and in the Hill City.

We appreciate you trusting us each day the past year and hope we can continue to provide you with accurate and reliable forecasts in the new year. Make sure you download our app for the latest radar and alerts. There, you can also send pictures through Pin It.

About the Author

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.

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