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Wednesday, February 11 severe convective wind event
EXPEDITION VIDEO: Severe bow echo roars through Charleston
After waiting all day to make a target decision, I headed to Nitro at around 4:30PM to intercept the crest of a bowing segment of the severe squall line approaching from the west-southwest. As it approached, the bowing crest shifted east, and I repositioned back east into Charleston. I decided that my house would be the best vantage point, with my east-facing living room windows providing an ideal elevated view with protection from wind-driven rain.
Due to my last-minute jockeying back and forth, it was a race with the line back home, with power flashes visible in the twilight sky. The bow crest and I arrived at the same time as I parked in front of my house. I ended up grabbing the camera and shooting out of my driver's side window, as there was no time to make it inside. The intense part of the squall only lasted about one minute, with white-out rains, flying leaves and twigs and pea-sized hail.
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Our subdivision (including my house) lost power during this initial burst (along with all of Greenbrier Street). I saw no lightning during these storms, but about a half-dozen power flashes.
I spent the next 30 minutes shooting the sights and sounds of wind roaring through the trees within several less-intense bursts of rain. I could hear several large limbs snapping. After I decided to call it a day (and turn the cameras off), several bright power flashes lit up to the west as another major wind burst plowed through. I turned the cameras back on in time to catch the roar of the wind through nearby trees.
An abrupt clearing line marked the end of the storms, allowing a sunset to filter in over downtown:
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Sadly, one West Virginia death was reported with these storms when a gymnasium collapsed in McDowell County (about 80 miles south of Charleston).
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