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National Weather Service confirms rare West Virginia tornado

June 26, 2019
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Dwight Ford hands over his daughter Jasmine, 8, to her mother, Laura Stallings, after the car they were driving in was struck by a falling pole that had itself been hit by a lightning bolt after a suspected tornado tore through Charleston, W.Va., Monday, June 24, 2019. (Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The National Weather Service says storm-related damage indicates that a rare tornado touched down in West Virginia.

The weather service tweeted that a tornado hit the Alum Creek area Monday night along U.S. Route 119 southwest of Charleston. A survey team is examining damage in other areas in Kanawha County, where large trees toppled onto homes and roads.

The agency said the preliminary strength is EF1 with wind speeds up to 90 mph (145 kph).

With its vast network of hills and mountains, West Virginia averages two tornadoes a year.

About 15,000 Appalachian Power customers remained without electricity Tuesday in West Virginia, down from nearly 21,000 Monday night. Charleston’s Yeager Airport tweeted it was using backup generators. Workers at West Virginia’s Capitol complex went home at midday when the power was turned off campuswide as part of repair and restoration efforts.

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