CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia saw its first round of heavy spring storms Wednesday afternoon when a number cells formed as a cold front approached the state from the north.
“With the instability (in the atmosphere) and lifting we basically just blew up a nice line of thunderstorms,” National Weather Service Meteorologist James Zvolensky told MetroNews.
“They turned to severe. Most likely due to the fact that they came through in the afternoon and had sufficient heating.”The temperatures were well into the 70s in southern West Virginia when the storms approached along the Interstate 64 corridor. The storms dotted the radar from the southern coalfields, through the Kanawha Valley and into southeastern counties.
“We were getting a lot of reports of pea-sized hail up to a half an inch,” Zvolensky said. “Some areas had some high winds. It wasn’t much of a wind threat that we expected to have. It just wasn’t as widespread. We did have some flash flooding as well.”
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service did issue a tornado warning at one point but it was radar indicated. There were no initital reports of anyone seeing a tornado.
Wind was an issue earlier Wednesday when an initial line of storms moved through parts of central West Virginia. Damage was reported in parts of Nicholas and Braxton counties.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers temporarily closed parts of the Burnsville Lake area in Braxton County after a heavy storm damaged the marina.
The Corps put a message on Facebook that said the launch ramp and the area behind teh dam would be closed until the storm debris is removed. The gate at the top of the dam was closed.
Zvolensky it all reminded him of a summer afternoon in the Mountain State.
“It was basically just an early summer event for us but it’s not too uncommon for this time of year,” he said.
Another round of storms was expected in the early morning hours Thursday.