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Storm rips through Lancaster

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Fred Adaire’s Toyota pickup was destroyed when a large pine tree fell across its hood and bed. Adaire lives in the Corrotoman Bay subdivision in Lancaster County. (Photos by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi)

Thousands of trees were downed and hundreds of power lines severed Sunday afternoon as a storm system tore through Lancaster County.

Video by Reid Pierce Armstrong and Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi.
The storm, which moved down the Rappahannock River around 3:30 p.m., brought with it heavy rains, strong winds and hail.

Many residents along Route 354 in the Heritage Point and Corrotoman by the Bay subdivisions are calling the storm system a tornado. However, that has not been confirmed by the National Weather Service, according to Lancaster County administrator William H. Pennell Jr.

Pennell was accessing the storm damage late Sunday afternoon and said he believes it “to be worse than [that left by] Hurricane Isabel.”

Roads were closed, trees rested on homes and cars and snapped electric poles lay in ditches and across roads from Morattico in the northern part of the county to Irvington in the south.

A large pine tree snapped off and fell through the roof of Paul Grenier’s home in Heritage Point (above, left). Matthew Westoff and Peggy Williams cut away branches of trees that fell in her yard in Heritage Point off Route 354 in Lancaster County Sunday. In the background, a tree lays across the roof of her home.
”If it wasn’t a tornado, it was the worst storm I’ve ever seen,” said Gary Oliver, who at height of the storm was driving along Route 354 near Corrotoman Plaza. He watched as an ice storage box was lifted from the plaza and blown across the road.

Peggy Williams and her husband Mark were cleaning up their yard Sunday evening in Heritage Point, where one tree had fallen on their home and another across their vehicle.

“In the middle of it, the wind and the rain were whipping so hard. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mark.

In Morattico on the Rappahannock River, residents, armed with chainsaws cut through dozens of downed trees that blocked the road.

“This was the strongest wind I’ve ever seen here that wasn’t a hurricane,” said Cecil “Ceebo” Bromley.

Two houses down from Bromley, a large tree had fallen on three cars.

Hundreds throughout the county were left without power.

At press time, there were no reports of injuries.

posted 07.14.2009

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