Property owner Sue Epperly was sitting in her home the night of Aug. 31 when the wind picked up and rain started blowing sideways through a cracked window, a precursor to the damage she could see clearly in the morning.
An apple tree that had been beside Epperly’s home for as long as she can remember was fully uprooted in the chaotic wind, along with another small tree not far away.
The wood shed beside her house was picked up from around its foundation and folded into a pile about six feet away, scattering the contents of the shed across her property. Even the chimney cap on top of her home was dislodged.
With the amount of damage surrounding her home that sits just off Floyd Highway North, Epperly was shocked, she said, on Sept. 1 when other community members and friends told her nothing like what she had experienced occurred at their houses.
Epperly reached out to the National Weather Service of Blacksburg earlier this week and experts conducted a study of the event and surveyed the damage.
NWS’s preliminary findings were published in a report Sept. 8 and state “straight-line” winds of 80-85 mph caused the damage on Epperly’s property the night of Aug. 31. It notes the damage and area of impact of the straight-line winds was contained to Epperly’s property.
Weak tornadoes (EF-0) have winds of 65-85 mph, according to the NWS, and include signature funnel cloud formations. The two tornadoes that touched down in Montgomery County Aug. 31 both had winds of 90-95 mph.
After two days of resetting flowers and collecting wind-blown items, on Sept. 2 Epperly pointed out broken tree limbs on the other side of a small field that weren’t there before the straight-line wind tore through, and noted she had yet to recover several small items, including an outdoor thermometer.
Epperly said replacing her woodshed, and hauling off debris from it and the uprooted trees are the biggest obstacles she faces in recovering from the 80-85 mph wind gusts. She was still working to come up with a plan Sept. 8, more than a week after the storms had passed through.
NWS noted in its preliminary report the event stemmed directly from Hurricane Ida, which first made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 30, bringing two days of rain and several tornado warnings to the area Aug. 31 to Sept. 1.
The two tornadoes were confirmed in Montgomery County with winds of 90-95 mph (EF-1).
Residents can submit local weather reports to NWS online at www.inws.ncep.noaa.gov/report.