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*Weather service confirms tornado caused swath of damage

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado tore a 33-mile path of destruction through Shenandoah and Rockingham counties early Thursday morning.

According to the NWS' website, www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/events/svrwx_20110427_28/, an EF2-rated tornado with winds up to 130 mph traveled from Fulks Run to the St. Luke area and "created nearly continuous damage on its 33 mile northeast path."

This included a destroyed mobile home, a chicken house leveled to the foundation and others damaged, ruined sheds, torn-off roofs, thrown trailers and hundreds of trees snapped or uprooted, according to the website.

Damage caused by the tornado was initially estimated at about $2.74 million.

Assistant County Administrator Mary Beth Price said the Virginia Department of Emergency Management suggested an assessment be done as soon as possible.

"That way if it's declared [a] federal [disaster], you may be eligible for federal funding," she said.

Ten farm buildings -- valued at $580,000 -- were destroyed, with 30 more partly damaged, according to figures released by the county. It's estimated that $300,000 worth of damage was done to farm equipment, and the cost to clean up debris and fix fences will be more than $200,000.

On the residential side, damages are estimated at $915,000, according to the county. This includes the destruction of a mobile home used as a hunting cabin, and major damage to six homes. More than five dozen homes had minor damage to their roofs.

To help residents as they clear up from Thursday's suspected tornado, the Shenandoah County Landfill will be open this Sunday and the following one, according to Price.

Normally, weekend hours only include Saturday.

Also, a group of volunteers is available to help with fallen trees. The release says that Southern Baptist Relief is providing two saw teams -- 16 people total -- to help residents. Those needing the help, can call 459-6167.

For further developments, visit nvdaily.com or read the print edition of The Northern Virginia Daily.

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