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West Virginia Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes

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The chance of earthquake damage in West Virginia is much lower than the national average. The risk of tornado damage in West Virginia is much lower than the national average.

Topics:Earthquake IndexVolcano IndexTornado IndexOther Weather Extremes EventsVolcanos NearbyHistorical Earthquake EventsHistorical Tornado Events

Earthquake Index, #39

West Virginia

The earthquake index value is calculated based on historical earthquake events data using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the earthquake level in a region. A higher earthquake index value means a higher chance of an earthquake.

Volcano Index, #14

West Virginia

The volcano index value is calculated based on the currently known volcanoes using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the possibility of a region being affected by a possible volcano eruption. A higher volcano index value means a higher chance of being affected.

Tornado Index, #37

West Virginia

The tornado index value is calculated based on historical tornado events data using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the tornado level in a region. A higher tornado index value means a higher chance of tornado events.

Other Weather Extremes Events

A total of 8,100 other weather extremes events from 1950 to 2010 were recorded in West Virginia. The following is a break down of these events:

Avalanche:0Blizzard:10Cold:87Dense Fog:22Drought:49
Dust Storm:0Flood:1,439Hail:1,835Heat:46Heavy Snow:384
High Surf:0Hurricane:0Ice Storm:57Landslide:2Strong Wind:228
Thunderstorm Winds:3,301Tropical Storm:0Wildfire:27Winter Storm:169Winter Weather:140

Volcanos Nearby

No volcano is found in or near West Virginia.

Historical Earthquake Events

A total of 1 historical earthquake event that had a recorded magnitude of 3.5 or above found in West Virginia.

DateMagnitudeDepth (km)LatitudeLongitude

Historical Tornado Events

A total of 30 historical tornado events that had recorded magnitude of 2 or above found in West Virginia.

DateMagnitudeStart Lat/LogEnd Lat/LogLengthWidthFatalitiesInjuriesProperty DamageCrop DamageAffected County
1965-04-08338°21'N / 82°35'W38°20'N / 82°31'W3.60 Miles220 Yards03250K0Wayne
1974-04-04337°40'N / 81°16'W37°42'N / 81°06'W9.20 Miles33 Yards0122.5M0Raleigh
1974-04-04337°48'N / 81°01'W37°50'N / 80°58'W3.30 Miles33 Yards000K0Raleigh
1974-04-04337°50'N / 80°58'W37°54'N / 80°47'W10.80 Miles33 Yards182.5M0Fayette
1974-04-04337°54'N / 80°47'W38°01'N / 80°29'W18.10 Miles33 Yards032.5M0Greenbrier
1980-06-03339°32'N / 79°54'W39°30'N / 79°52'W2.30 Miles150 Yards002.5M0Monongalia
1980-06-03339°30'N / 79°52'W39°23'N / 79°29'W21.90 Miles33 Yards0152.5M0Preston
1986-10-01339°18'N / 80°47'W1.00 Mile200 Yards01250K0Doddridge
2010-09-16339°08'N / 81°44'W39°06'N / 81°37'W7.00 Miles500 Yards1101.0M0KWood
 Brief Description: EVENT NARRATIVE: This tornado originated in northeastern Meigs County Ohio and crossed the Ohio River, just upstream of the lock and dam and the community of Belleville. A small pocket of EF3 damage located along Route 68 in the valley and flood plain along the river. The maximum wind gusts were estimated at 160 mph here. Also, the width of the tornado briefly widened to 500 yards here. Well built single family homes received major damage or were destroyed. In this area, a 57 year old male was killed. He, his wife, and their dog had gone downstairs into the basement for protection. The husband went back upstair to get a flashlight. He figured the electricity would go out, as darkness had already set in. At that point, he disappeared as the tornado hit. His wife tried to open the door to let him back down, but she could not open the door. Their ranch style home with a brick front was destroyed. His body was found some 150 to 200 feet away in a field. Ten other people were injured, but none seriously. Other significant structural and tree damage occurred along a river access road and basically along the South Fork of Lee Creek drainage toward Rockport. The total path length of this tornado from Meigs County Ohio into Wood County was over 9 miles. All total, the county reported 10 homes destroyed, 6 homes with major damage, and 27 homes with minor damage. About 15 to 18 outbuildings were damaged or destroyed. EPISODE NARRATIVE: A cold front, in tandem with strong mid and upper level forcing, produced a severe weather outbreak in southeast Ohio into extreme western West Virginia during the late afternoon and evening of Thursday the 16th. The setup featured a 45 knot mid level flow and a 95 knot upper level jet. Matter of fact, a larger area of showers, associated with a warm front, had moved across southeast Ohio and West Virginia during the morning and midday hours. This kept the surface based instability at a minimum. However, new cells formed further west during the mid afternoon over western Ohio. It was this new cluster of convection that would intensify due to the strong mid and upper level dynamics. Several of the new cells formed and intensified on the southern or southwestern flank of the overall larger area of showers and thunderstorms. This area of convection stretched further to the northeast into eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. This allowed an unimpeded low level moisture inflow into the new development. Surface dew points ahead of the cold front reached into the mid 60s. Most of the severe thunderstorms exhibited strong rotation, resulting in the spawning of 5 tornadoes. Four of these 5 tornadoes were in southeast Ohio. One of the 4 Ohio tornadoes crossed from Fairfield County into western Perry County. Another 1 of the 4 crossed from Perry into northwestern Morgan County. One tornado patch was solely in Athens County. Finally, the last of the 4 tornadoes in Ohio crossed the Ohio River from northeastern Meigs County into southern Wood County in West Virginia. This tornado was the strongest and resulted in a fatality on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River. The last direct death from a tornado in West Virginnia was back in June of 1982. Finally, the last short tornado path in this outbreak was solely in western West Virginia, located in Wirt County.
1956-03-07239°03'N / 80°34'W1.00 Mile60 Yards01250K0Lewis
1961-02-25237°59'N / 81°09'W3.00 Miles100 Yards00250K0Fayette
1965-04-08237°30'N / 80°49'W0.50 Mile100 Yards0025K0Summers
1965-04-12237°24'N / 81°06'W003K0Mercer
1967-05-07239°20'N / 80°05'W0025K0Taylor
1970-08-22239°18'N / 80°12'W1.00 Mile127 Yards002.5M0Harrison
1975-04-24237°47'N / 80°28'W6.00 Miles67 Yards0025K0Greenbrier
1976-07-11237°36'N / 80°34'W37°33'N / 80°31'W4.10 Miles33 Yards00250K0Monroe
1977-06-20239°29'N / 79°33'W39°24'N / 79°29'W6.60 Miles50 Yards05250K0Preston
1980-07-09238°48'N / 79°43'W0.30 Mile20 Yards0025K0Randolph
1981-06-21239°32'N / 80°21'W1.00 Mile10 Yards00250K0Marion
1981-07-28239°24'N / 81°18'W39°23'N / 81°12'W5.10 Miles33 Yards03250K0Pleasants
1989-11-16239°15'N / 77°47'W39°20'N / 77°48'W9.00 Miles50 Yards03250K0Jefferson
1990-05-26238°09'N / 81°13'W0.50 Mile250 Yards0025K0Fayette
1990-06-22237°41'N / 80°30'W37°42'N / 80°29'W1.00 Mile150 Yards00250K0Greenbrier
1990-06-22237°38'N / 80°28'W37°41'N / 80°30'W4.00 Miles150 Yards00250K0Monroe
1998-01-08239°13'N / 81°25'W39°14'N / 81°27'W2.00 Miles100 Yards00200K0Wood
 Brief Description: One mobile home along Farrow Hill Road was completely destroyed. Luckily, the owner was not at home. One church sustained roof damage. A side to a barn was ripped off. An old farm house was damaged. Some bark from a tree went through a cars windshield. One van was pushed several yards. Numerous trees were knocked down. Nobody was injured. Rare January dew points, in the upper 50s and lower 60s on the 8th, along with strong winds aloft, helped trigger severe weather. The rains from the past few days were heavier in Ohio, and eventually caused minor river flooding along the mainstem of the Ohio River. The high water was from the mouth of the Hocking River to the mouth of the Kanawha River. The crest at Pt. Pleasant was 41.5 feet. These levels closed some roads, parks, and parking lots, but did not reach into the towns.
1998-06-02239°43'N / 79°33'W39°40'N / 79°30'W4.00 Miles300 Yards005.0M2.0MPreston
 Brief Description: An F2 tornado passed southeast through southern Fayette County PA, the northeast tip of Preston County WV, and into northwest Garrett County MD. The total length of the tornado as it passed across these three counties was 12 miles. Damage in Preston County included a completely destroyed dairy barn, two completely destroyed house trailers, and at least 21 other structures heavily damaged, many with roofs partially or completely peeled off. Several cows were killed, with one cow thrown through the air over 100 yards. A clearly visible 300-yard wide, 1-mile long swath of trees which were completely sheared/uprooted was present near the Pennsylvania/West Virginia state border. One Fayette County official estimated at least two million dollars damage in lost timber alone in that county. Despite the damage, interviews with law enforcement officials, paramedics and local residents revealed no injuries occurred.
1998-06-02239°23'N / 79°03'W39°20'N / 78°52'W10.00 Miles150 Yards00150K100KMineral
 Brief Description: The combination of an upper-level disturbance, increasing atmospheric shear, and ample instability set the stage for a major severe weather episode across portions of eastern West Virginia during the late afternoon and evening. The episode was highlighted by supercell thunderstorms which produced two multi-county tornadoes and several instances of large hail. For many residents of the Potomac highlands, the storms were a watershed event; the locals believed that tornadoes "like those in the midwest and Great Plains" could never strike. The first twister, originally associated with a supercell which had produced a long (11-13 mile track) tornado in Somerset Co, Pennsylvania, re-emerged in extreme northeastern Mineral Co just east of Wagoner. The storm crossed into Hampshire Co, then passed an Allegheny Power substation before causing minor damage at some homes just north of Donaldson. Damage included a destroyed gazebo, stripped siding/trim from homes, and several uprooted or snapped trees. The tornado crossed River Mountain, causing damage primarily to forested areas. The path continued across the South Branch of the Potomac River before the tornado dissipated just outside the town of Levels. The second tornado produced significantly more property damage. Initial reports of a funnel cloud over Bloomington, Maryland (Garrett Co) became prophetic as the first touchdown occurred 5 miles southwest of Keyser. Damage increased as the storm descended the Allegheny front range (Green Mountain). A car was blown over, a garage destroyed, and several trees were snapped or uprooted. A pine tree landed on one home, another home sustained minor damage, and a nearby mobile home had its skirting blown off. The twister crossed New Creek Mountain, levelling numerous trees in heavily forested areas. Damage intensified after the tornado descended the mountain. One mobile home was destroyed - and, after the storm crossed federal highway 220, more tree damage was noted, as was minor damage to homes and extensive damage to outbuildings. The storm continued along federal highway(s) 50/220 to Ridgeville, rolling one mobile home, causing minor damage to nearby buildings, and destroying a barn near the Mill Creek Country Club just west of Burlington. From there, the tornado continued over Patterson Creek Mountain and into Hampshire Co, where several mobile homes were damaged or rolled along Davy Road. Five persons in one of the homes sustained minor injuries; only one accepted transport to a local hospital for head trauma. A station wagon was completely turned around and sustained minor damage. The twister then tracked three miles south of Junction, where it likely dissipated. Hail was associated with each mini-supercell - and several residents, including fruit farmers, noted varying amounts of damage due to prolonged and, in some cases, sizeable hail. One grower reported total damage to his orchard (near Levels); other damage was seen in the form of stripped leaves and downed small limbs. Conditions quieted after the final supercell (that which produced the second tornado) passed.
2003-07-10239°15'N / 81°39'W39°16'N / 81°36'W2.50 Miles250 Yards001.5M0Wood
 Brief Description: The tornado first touched down along Raymond Street near Lubeck. Several homes were damaged here, including a brick garage, which had its roof thrown a couple hundred feet into neighboring homes. The tornado continued northeast along Smitherman Road, where it intensified to F2 strength. Eight homes were damaged at his time, including 2 homes with their roofs lifted off and thrown several hundred feet. More homes were damaged as the tornado cross Lake Washington Road. One resident took shelter in a basement bathroom. When she opened the door after the storm, there was nothing but daylight. Six RV trailers were overturned at a dealership. The tornado crossed White Acres Road damaging 6 homes. One attached garage was ripped away from a house. The tornado weakened as it crossed Route 892. Trees were mangled near Jewell Road. The storm crossed Island View Drive, but no houses suffered any significant damage. All total, on the order of 30 homes and a couple of businesses sustained damage, with a half dozen homes destroyed. About 15 power poles were snapped. Luckily, no fatalities or injuries occurred. A potent squall line developed during the early afternoon across central Ohio, on southwest to central Kentucky. This was along a prefrontal surface boundary, and well out ahead of a strong cold front. The atmosphere warmed into the 80s with surface dew points in the 70 to 75 degree range. Additional thunderstorms formed into a broken west to east line across West Virginia, ahead of the squall line. This caused flooding problems. After 1500E, the squall line accelerated eastward, moving near 50 mph. As a result of this event, a few more counties, such as Ritchie and Harrison, were added to FEMA's disaster declaration number 1474. This federal disaster was initiated during the month of June.
2004-09-17239°22'N / 78°02'W39°23'N / 78°02'W2.00 Miles100 Yards0625K0Berkeley
 Brief Description: A tornado touched down in Darkesville in southern Berkeley County. The F2 tornado produced extensive structural damage to homes and businesses in the area. The storm traveled north and toppled tractor trailers and vehicles on Interstate-81. At least 6 people were injured from the automobile accidents.

* The information on this page is based on the global volcano database, the U.S. earthquake database of 1638-1985, and the U.S. Tornado and Weather Extremes database of 1950-2010.

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