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National Weather Service confirms two tornadoes in Suffolk

The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes struck in Suffolk early Tuesday morning during Tropical Storm Isaias.

One tornado, the one that caused building damage in downtown Suffolk and several nearby neighborhoods, was an EF1 with an estimated maximum wind speed of about 100 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service Wakefield office.

That tornado formed near the Great Dismal Swamp and ended near Everets Road, the National Weather Service said. That’s about 20 miles, and the tornado measured about 150 yards in width.

It lasted from 3:02 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.

“The tornado caused significant damage to at least eight buildings in downtown Suffolk,” the National Weather Service statement said. “The tornado then moved north and crossed Lake Meade, where it uprooted or snapped numerous trees before lifting as it approached the Isle of Wight County line.”

The other tornado was rated an EF0, with an estimated maximum wind speed of 80 miles per hour. It lasted from 3:08 a.m. to 3:22 a.m., the National Weather Service said.

It traveled for 11.7 miles from a rural area west of the swamp to 3.5 miles southeast of Windsor. Its maximum path width was 100 yards.

“The damage was limited to snapped or uprooted trees along the path,” the National Weather Service statement said.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes into six categories, ranging from EF0 to EF5. An EF0 is the weakest, with winds of 65 to 85 miles per hour, with the strongest being EF5 at more than 200 miles per hour.

The city of Suffolk said Wednesday that approximately 99 structures, both residential and business, sustained damage from the tropical storm and the tornadoes it spawned.

Citizens are encouraged to report damage to the city at 757-514-4150.