While havoc was being wreaked in counties around it, Surry managed to escape major problems Wednesday from a storm system that included tornado activity.
“The tornado actually passed over the top of this county, and a few people actually saw the spikes,” Emergency Services Director John Shelton said of pointy, dark-cloud formations that appear at the bottom of tornadoes.
“But they never touched the ground,” the local public safety official added Thursday morning in assessing the impact of severe weather accompanied by tornado warnings being issued Wednesday for Surry, Yadkin, Stokes, Forsyth, Davie and Iredell counties in North Carolina. Also included was Patrick County, Virginia.
In Yadkin, Courtney Elementary School southeast of Yadkinville sustained heavy damage to its gymnasium and athletic field. Two buses and some mobile classrooms also were damaged. No injuries were reported, but the school was closed Thursday.
One person in a neighborhood near the school was hurt, with damage reported to about 10 homes on Baity Road in the campus vicinity.
Shelton said the tornado activity seemed to move in an up-and-down pattern from Yadkin where it reached the ground, and then on to Pinnacle.
People reported seeing the spikes in the Level Cross and Siloam areas of southern Surry, “but there never was anything hitting the ground,” he said.
The tornado dropped down again in Virginia. “Patrick County had some damage,” Shelton said.
Storm damage also was reported in Stokes County, including at YMCA Camp Hanes, multiple mobile homes near King and in the Francisco and Collinstown communities.
“Path of least resistance”
The fact Surry was spared major problems from Wednesday’s storm system and tornado was not a result of magic or divine intervention, “that’s the way they do,” Shelton said of tornadoes.
“A lot of times they follow the path of least resistance,” he said. “That’s the way it works.”
Surry’s problems were limited to isolated power outages, only brief interruptions in some cases, and other minor issues compared to neighboring counties.
“Ours was mostly trees down and some surface flooding in areas from small streams,” Shelton said of the effects. The downed trees resulted from a combination of strong winds and rainfall.
There was no major flooding of rivers and roadways, which has been the case with other recent storms.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.