Possible Tornado or Microburst in Fredericksburg

At least two buildings are severely damaged and two people are in the hospital.

Update 8:34 p.m.

A . 

Update 8:13 p.m. 

The National Weather Service has not determined if the storm in Fredericksburg was a microburst or something else, and it may take another day or two before officials there make that determination. 

What is a microburst?

"A microburst is a downdraft (sinking air) in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in scale," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "... Although microbursts are not as widely recognized as tornadoes, they can cause comparable, and in some cases, worse damage than some tornadoes produce.  In fact, wind speeds as high as 150 mph are possible in extreme microburst cases."

Update 7:12 p.m.

Just nine days after a "super derecho" hit Fredericksburg, the area is dealing with another natural disaster — what may have been a rare tornado.

The event occured just after 5 p.m. and damaged buildings on Lafayette Boulevard and Fleming Street. 

A flood of water came through the front door of Set N TrendZ hair salon, in Fleming Center, according to salon owner Crystal Smith, who was in the building with her 13-year-old daughter, Sierra Frazier.

"All of a sudden it was just white, and then a huge tree branch flew by," Smith said. She yelled at her daughter that it looked like a tornado and to get back. "We ran into the color lab and just held each other. It was loud, and then I heard everything just crash. After I heard the crash, I looked out and the whole ceiling was in the waiting area."

"I just thank God we're ok," Smith said.

Update - 6:28 p.m.

 Frank Kuhn Jr., 95, lives near the 4100 block of Lafayette Boulevard. "I was in bed resting, and the whole damn house shook. ... It knocked the screen door off my back door. I went through nine wars and I've never seen anything like this."  He has been evacuated from his home. 

John Bettis, who lives in 76 Fleming St., told Patch, "All the lights went out and then, BOOM! It lift the house up. I thought it was an earthquake, to tell you the truth. I got out because the rescue crews got me out."

Update - 6:10 p.m. The Sheriff's Department has told Patch a tornado hit a building in Fredericksburg this evening as severe thunderstorms rolled through the area. 

The roof of one building reportedly flew off and hit a home about 40 yards away near Fleming Street. 

"It started hailing golfball-sized hail and then the lights went out," said Mandi Spina, the director of Cheer Fusion gym at on Fleming St. "It was torrential downpour, and I told the kids to get into the dance room because it is steel re-inforced. Bricks started flying and the walls caved in."

Two parents were transported to a local hospital.  


A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Fredericksburg, and it's already making for a busy day for dispatchers.

Dominion Virginia Power is reporting approximately 1,800 people without power in Fredericksburg thanks to a circuit that is out. There is no estimated restoration time yet.

Spotsylvania County fire and rescue units have responded to a call of a second-story collapse off Jefferson Davis Highway on Fleming Street. There is an active gas leak, fire fighters reported. They had to shut off the main valve to remove the potential danger and evacuated one elderly person from a house that was damaged.

Stratford Square Apartments at 1000 Jefferson Davis Hwy. is reporting an electrical problem from electrical lines.

Dispatchers just called for mutual aid at 5:42 p.m. to help handle some of the calls.

Units are responded to a call of a smell of smoke from a home in the 1200 block of Dandridge Street in Fredericksburg.

There are also two accidents reported on Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg.

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Christine Balkon Curtis July 08, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Thank you for reporting this story, and staying on top of it. Checking the locations on google maps, it appears that the tornado may have had a long path between those two locations between 410 Lafayette and the Cheer Fusion Gym on Fleming Street. I imagine we'll hear more in the coming days as well as what type of tornado this was - F1, etc. Definitely hope that the people injured in the tornado makes it through all right.
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 08, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Christina, two were injured and taken to hospital. Several stores on lafayette blvd also sustained damage from hail such as broken glass. pretty crazy stuff.
Patricia Mussey July 08, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Great reporting job! This is the only site with any information. Even the radio has very little.
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 08, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Credit to my Regional Editor Beth Lawton all the way out in Fairfax who helped me post all of these details! Thanks, Beth!
d July 09, 2012 at 12:07 AM
thank you Dan, you definetley were the first and only reporting this info.
sarah kleman July 09, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Great coverage,
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Microburst it appears!!! Photo gallery on the way and more updates coming
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Photo gallery: http://fredericksburg.patch.com/articles/photos-powerful-storm-strikes-fredericksburg#photo-10603614
Terry Diebold July 09, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I love Patch! Thank you for your reporting, photos and thanks to your dedicated staff. You always get the story out first. Terry Diebold
cynthia moore July 09, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Thanks for keeping us informed
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Cynthia, you are welcome. I will have follow ups Monday. Crazy last 10 days or so for all of us, eh?
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Terry, that means a ton!!! Thank you so much
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Patricia, thank you. I got there pretty fast....
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Christine, the original addie was wrong. A lot of this was being fed through text and calls to my regional editor while I was at the scene. he home is 76 Fleming and the Cheer Fusion is 86 Fleming--at least that's what the maps show.
Dan Telvock (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 03:52 AM
A similar storm happened in Bladensburg MD last month...from our sister site: http://hyattsville.patch.com/articles/quick-violent-storm-snaps-trees-stuns-bladensburg#photo-10428328
HORUS THE CHILD July 09, 2012 at 06:18 AM
HORUS THE CHILD July 09, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Michael E. Dillard July 09, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Good job Dan...as always!
Daniel P. Cortez July 09, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Patch on top of things as usual....thanks again Dan
Cynthia Rogers July 09, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Great job to Rob Benjamin for giving us that wonderfilled video of storm in process. I hope that all is well with you and passengers in the vehicle.


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