At 6:36 p.m. Friday, a tornado touched down in the city of Fredericksburg and then carved a three-quarter mile path the National Weather Service (NWS) says.
The NWS conducted a storm survey today and filed the following preliminary summary, which indicates the storm unearthed trees and caused some structural damage:
EF-1 TORNADO CONFIRMED BY NWS STORM SURVEY. PEAK WINDS 90 MPH. PATH LENGTH 0.75 MILE. MAX PATH WIDTH 150 YARDS. APARTMENT BUILDING UNROOFED. TREES UPROOTED AND TOPPED. SHOPPING PLAZA ROOF DAMAGED.
Link: Powerful storm roars through Fredericksburg area (from Fredericksburg News Desk, describes damage and shows photos)
The tornado struck while Fredericksburg and much of Mid-Atlantic region was under a tornado watch, but no tornado warning was issued for this storm. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the area at 6:31 p.m, and stated: “THIS LINE OF STORMS IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH.”
The twister was on the ground for just one minute, making it difficult to detect and, arguably, impossible to issue a timely warning for.
Addendum: here are some more details from the full NWS storm survey:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO STRUCK THE CITY OF FREDERICKSBURG VIRGINIA ON APRIL 19 2013 WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OF 90 MPH. THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN AT 6:36 PM EDT ON THE WESTWOOD SHOPPING PLAZA...RIPPING OFF ROOFING MATERIALS AND VENTILATION UNITS. IT TRAVELED NORTHEAST THROUGH A RESIDENTIAL AREA UPROOTING AND TOPPING TREES AND CAUSING ROOFING DAMAGE. THE TORNADO PASSED JUST WEST OF THE MERCER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND ADJACENT POLICE BARRACKS...RIPPING THE ROOF OFF OF AN APARTMENT BUILDING ALONG COWAN BLVD AND THROWING IT ACROSS THE STREET. A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER SAW THE TORNADO CROSS COWAN BLVD AND THEN DISSIPATE BEFORE IT REACHED MARY WASHINGTON HOSPITAL AT 6:37 PM. THE TOTAL PATH LENGTH WAS THREE QUARTERS OF A MILE.