- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

RICHMOND — State officials said yesterday that the more than dozen tornadoes that struck Virginia last week caused between $65 million and $100 million in damage to homes, businesses and farms.

The state has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess Friday’s damage to see whether it is significant enough to qualify residents for federal assistance.

“We’ve given them the whole big picture,” said Dawn Eischen, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Much of the losses appear to be insured, Miss Eischen said. FEMA covers uninsured and underinsured losses.

As the remnants of Hurricane Ivan reached Virginia, the National Weather Service received more than 40 reports of tornadoes across the state. So far, 17 of them have been confirmed. But that tally is expected to rise once meteorologists in the service’s Sterling office finish investigating evidence of tornadoes in Northern Virginia.

The state has collected damage reports from 17 localities, including hard-hit Henry County, where a twister picked up cars, ripped the roof off a factory and flipped two tractor-trailers off a highway.

Most of the tornadoes appeared to be weak ones rated F0 and F1 on the Fujita scale, which means they packed winds no higher than 112 miles per hour. But meteorologists think a strong F2 with winds between 140 mph and 150 mph struck Henry County.

In Frederick County, some farmers discovered barns leveled, livestock killed or injured by debris, and apples swept from trees, said Cyndi Marston, an extension agent for the county and surrounding localities.

The wind damage came just as the apple-picking season had begun, uprooting trees and sending the fruit tumbling to the ground, said Steve Brim, a farmer in the county.

“This is a terrible time,” he said.

Mr. Brim said he was trying to clear apples this week, because pickers couldn’t work in fields where it would be like “walking on marbles,” he said.

The localities that gave damage reports to the state included Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Henry, Loudoun and Prince William counties, and Manassas and Manassas Park.

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