Storm Events Database

Event Details

Event Tornado
-- Scale F1
-- Length .2 Miles
-- Width 25 Yards
State VIRGINIA
County/Area ORANGE
WFO LWX
Report Source NEWSPAPER
NCDC Data Source PDS
Begin Date 2001-09-24 14:35:00.0 EST
Begin Location 2W GORDONSVILLE
Begin Lat/Lon 38.15/-78.22
End Date 2001-09-24 14:35:00.0 EST
End Location 2W GORDONSVILLE
End Lat/Lon 38.15/-78.22
Deaths Direct/Indirect 0/0 (fatality details below, when available...)
Injuries Direct/Indirect 0/0
Property Damage 5K
Crop Damage
Episode Narrative Five tornadoes touched down in Northern Virginia during the afternoon and early evening of the 24th. The thunderstorms which spawned them were created when a strong cold front moved through the region. One tornado touched down briefly in Orange County, just a few miles west of Gordonsville. A resident saw the tornado come "off the mountain" and twist trees along Route 645 near the intersection of Route 33. One tree landed on a vehicle near Route 33. It is unknown exactly how long the twister was on the ground due to the rural nature of its path, so the path length of two tenths of a mile was estimated. The damage path was about 25 yards wide and due to the amount of tree damage it was ranked an F1.

Shortly before the tornado touched down in Orange County, another storm produced a much stronger tornado over the northern half of Culpeper County. The tornado was on the ground for 10 miles and touched down just east of Rixeyville on Route 640. It was F0 strength at this location and downed a tree onto a home before moving northeast to Indian Fork Road. On a hilltop at this location it destroyed all but the walkout basement of a two story brick house. Debris from the home such as bricks and wood were impaled into the ground. Plumbing and appliances were strewn across the yard and personal items such as clothing and bedding were found in trees at least 1/2 mile away. A section of a deck was found intact 1/2 mile away and some insulation was discovered 6 miles from the site. A car in the garage of the home was crushed by debris. Fortunately, no one was home at the time the tornado hit. A neighbor who witnessed the destruction said the home exploded like a bomb went off inside when the tornado "dropped onto it". The tornado was ranked an F4 at this location with winds estimated around 210 MPH. It weakened slightly as it moved northeast downing trees along a rural path south of Jeffersonton. Next, it crossed through the heart of Jeffersonton along roughly Scottsville and Springs Roads at F2 strength. Three trailer homes in the Ponderosa Trailer Court were destroyed, including one that was picked up and dropped in pieces 300 yards away. Two people at the trailer park were injured, including one person who was hit in the back by flying debris while clinging to a pole outside. Four churches, 4 trailer homes, 4 houses, and numerous trees and power lines were damaged in Jeffersonton. Two barns and a garage attached to a home were destroyed. The tornado continued to damage trees along its wooded path north of town before it crossed into Fauquier County. The twister, now at F1 strength, remained on the ground for three more miles where it downed more trees and removed the roof of a barn. The damage path crossed Hart Road and Holtzclaw Road, then it disappeared just north of Route 211.

The same storm dropped a second tornado in the northern portion of Fauquier County. This tornado touched down southwest of The Plains just south of Interstate 66. Motorists saw it cross the interstate and push northeast toward Route 55. At the intersection of Route 55 and Bunker Hill Road, the twister struck a home at F1 strength. It ripped off the front porch, sending debris onto cars in the driveway. It also destroyed a pool shed and damaged several trees. The tornado crossed Route 55 where it downed trees and power poles and pushed over a tractor trailer. The tornado weakened to F0 strength as it tracked north near Whitewood Road. Two homes on Milestone Road and a few smaller buildings sustained minor damage. A few trees were damaged as the tornado continued northward just west of Halfway. The funnel dissipated before the storm crossed into Loudoun County.

Another thunderstorm dropped two tornadoes along the Interstate 95 and 395 corridor southwest of Washington D.C. The first tornado touched down on Quantico Marine Corps Base just north of Garrisonville. A funnel cloud was spotted near Garrisonville shortly before the twister touched down. Trees were downed on the base along the path of the F0 tornado. Personnel sited it as it passed a quarter mile west of the fire station. The tornado continued north into Prince William County where it downed some trees in Prince William Forest Park area. The tornado moved north into the Lake Montclair community where it took down a few trees, broke branches, and bent siding up on homes. The weak tornado lifted shortly after. Because the storm passed through several limited access areas, part of the tornado track was not able to be surveyed. It is possible the tornado may not have been on the ground the entire time.

The second tornado which remained on the ground for 15 miles passed through densely populated areas of Eastern Fairfax County, the western portion of the city of Alexandria, and Arlington County. The F1 tornado touched down just west of Fort Belvoir near Newington Road in Fairfax County. It skipped north-northeast through Kingstown and Franconia following Beulah Street (Route 613). Minor damage was reported at the intersections of Windsor Avenue, Fleet Drive, and Walker Lane. Several townhomes on Beulah Street received minor damage to roofing and siding. Debris was also reported in the Franconia Commons development. The tornado could be seen from the Franconia-Springfield metro station. The next report of minor damage came from the Wellington Commons and Brookland Estates communities near the intersection of Franconia Road and Route 613. Citywide, 10 homes received minor roof damage, two businesses sustained minor damage, and 40 trees and wires were downed. Next, the twister crossed Eisenhower Road as it moved into the western portion of the City of Alexandria. It weakened to F0 strength and was believed to have passed just west of Alexandria Hospital and into the Fort Ward Park area. It downed a large sign on Interstate 395 at King Road. Minor damage was reported in the Park Fairfax and Parc East communities along Martha Custis Drive near the Arlington County border. The tornado returned to F1 strength and continued north-northeast paralleling Interstate 395 into the Shirlington portion of Arlington County. It passed through the Arna Valley and Club Manor Estates developments near National Hospital Medical Center. A woman walking down 28th Street in this area was injured when a tree branch fell onto her. Nearby, windows were shattered at a restaurant. The next concentrated area of damage occurred in the Virginia Highlands development between Kent and Ives Streets. Several trees and wires were downed and a few house roofs sustained damage. A weather observer at Reagan National Airport spotted the thin funnel as it moved from Crystal City over Pentagon City and across the 14th Street Bridge and reported a second funnel descending shortly before the tornado crossed the Potomac River. The tornado moved across Interstate 395 just south of the Pentagon where it downed trees and road signs. One woman was injured when a tree fell onto her vehicle. Other vehicles received broken windows from flying debris. The tornado started to weaken fast as it crossed the 14th Street Bridge into Washington D.C.

In addition to tornadoes, the storm produced very heavy downpours. In Loudoun County, Town Branch in Leesburg overflowed its banks. Several roads in low lying areas in and around town were also flooded including the Greenway at mile marker 8, Evergreen Mills Road, Loudoun Street, and the intersection of the Route 15 bypass at Sycolin Road. Three water rescues were reported. Street flooding was observed in Purcellville. Rainfall reports included 4.1 to 4.8 inches in Leesburg, 3.95 inches in Lincoln and Purcellville, 3.9 inches in Ashburn, 2.60 inches in Middleburg, and 2.49 inches in Lovettsville. In Fauquier County, Route 17 between Warrenton and Marshall was flooded. Route 55 near Marshall was also covered with water. Some secondary dirt roads in the northern portion of the county were partially washed out when small streams overflowed. A total of 4.05 inches was recorded in The Plains and 2.14 inches fell in Warrenton. In Culpeper County, 3.35 inches of rain fell in Culpeper. In Madison County, rainfall totals included 2.80 inches in Hood, 2.77 inches at Fork Mountain, 2.65 inches in Wolftown, and 2.35 inches at Big Meadows. In Rappahannock County, 3.75 inches was reported in Castleton.
Event Narrative A short lived tornado downed several trees near the intersection of Route 645 and 33.


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All events for this episode:

Location County/Zone St. Date Time T.Z. Type Mag Dth Inj PrD CrD
Totals: 0 4 3.254M 0.00K
REVA CULPEPER CO. VA 09/24/2001 13:43 EST Funnel Cloud 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
COUNTYWIDE MADISON CO. VA 09/24/2001 14:00 EST Heavy Rain 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
COUNTYWIDE CULPEPER CO. VA 09/24/2001 14:00 EST Heavy Rain 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
RIXEYVILLE CULPEPER CO. VA 09/24/2001 14:03 EST Tornado F4 0 2 2.000M 0.00K
TURNBULL FAUQUIER CO. VA 09/24/2001 14:18 EST Tornado F1 0 0 20.00K 0.00K
GORDONSVILLE ORANGE CO. VA 09/24/2001 14:35 EST Tornado F1 0 0 5.00K 0.00K
THE PLAINS FAUQUIER CO. VA 09/24/2001 14:49 EST Tornado F1 0 0 180.00K 0.00K
COUNTYWIDE RAPPAHANNOCK CO. VA 09/24/2001 15:00 EST Heavy Rain 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GARRISONVILLE STAFFORD CO. VA 09/24/2001 15:08 EST Funnel Cloud 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GARRISONVILLE STAFFORD CO. VA 09/24/2001 15:10 EST Tornado F0 0 0 0.10K 0.00K
JOPLIN PRINCE WILLIAM CO. VA 09/24/2001 15:19 EST Tornado F0 0 0 1.00K 0.00K
NEWINGTON FAIRFAX CO. VA 09/24/2001 15:44 EST Tornado F1 0 0 40.00K 0.00K
ALEXANDRIA ALEXANDRIA (C) CO. VA 09/24/2001 15:55 EST Tornado F0 0 0 7.50K 0.00K
ARLINGTON ARLINGTON CO. VA 09/24/2001 16:00 EST Tornado F1 0 2 1.000M 0.00K
COUNTYWIDE LOUDOUN CO. VA 09/24/2001 17:50 EST Flash Flood 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
COUNTYWIDE FAUQUIER CO. VA 09/24/2001 19:00 EST Flash Flood 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
Totals: 0 4 3.254M 0.00K