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Damage from Friday’s storm widespread in Fredericksburg area

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

While only one tornado was confirmed in Fredericksburg by the National Weather Service as a result of Friday’s severe thunderstorm, other nearby localities reported suffering wind damage.  

Calvin Meadows, a meteorological technician at the National Weather Service in Sterling, said areas around Lake Anna in Spotsylvania sustained intense, straight-line winds during the storm. The winds reached a maximum speed of 80 mph and felled trees as well as damaging some homes. 

Local emergency teams reported other lines of damage. One such line began in the park near Lafayette Boulevard and headed toward an industrial area.

Another started in downtown Fredericksburg, running parallel to Princess Anne Street.

Meadows said sources close to Fredericksburg were used, including local weather spotters, when investigating where to find damage by the storm assessment team.  

A storm-assessment team from the NWS in Sterling notified Fredericksburg officials Saturday evening that the EF-1 twister touched ground for about three-quarters of a mile near Cowan Boulevard, with peak winds of 90 mph. An EF-1 tornado has winds of 86 to 110 mph.

In Spotsylvania, Friday’s storm sent high winds and rain slamming into Hazelwild Farm’s indoor area in the midst of a riding lesson.

Worried that a tornado might be coming through, the class headed for shelter in the basement of the Spotsylvania County’s farm office building about 300 yards away.

“Just going from the ring to the house, you could see that one tree in front of the house had blown over and there were all sorts of little trees down,” said Teresa Seay, farm manager.

Once the storm blew over, she and the barn manager checked on the horses and assessed the damage. None of the horses was hurt, but a downed tree had clipped the side of the farm’s office, the roof had blown off a hay shed, and so many trees had fallen that most of the approximately 20 pastures were unusable.

Parents who had been watching the lesson volunteered to come the next day with chain saws to help clean up, as did people who board their horses at Hazelwild, members of the University of Mary Washington equestrian team and others with a connection to the farm’s riding programs or day school.

By the time Stephanie Macior, director of Hazelwild’s Country Day School and secretary of Hazelwild’s board of directors, got to the farm at 8 a.m. Saturda,, she said “saws were humming.”

Volunteers using two trucks and two trailers made about 30 trips to the dump to haul away storm debris, she said. All but two of the farms pastures are now usable.

“For the most part, it’s cleaned up,” Macior said of the farm. “We do have some very large tree trunks that need to be removed, and some people have asked for the remaining lumber.”

One of the volunteers wants to keep a big piece of cedar to make a cedar trunk for his daughter’s tack, she said.

“We are so appreciative to everyone who helped out,” Macior said.

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