SPC Stats

Path length: 4 miles (Hanover), 5 miles (Caroline)

Width:  400 yards (Hanover), 200 yards (Caroline)

Fatalities:  2 (Hanover)

Injuries:  1 (Caroline)

Rating:  F3 (Hanover), F2 (Caroline)

County:  Hanover, Caroline

13 tornadoes occurred across parts of PA, NC and VA on April 1, 1998.  This summary looks at a Virginia tornado rated F3.  This was entered into the SPC database as 2 separate tornadoes:  An F3 in Hanover County and an F2 in Caroline County.  The Storm Data entry on this event though states, “Supercell thunderstorm produced a tornado along a 9 mile path extending from near Coatesville in northwest Hanover county eastward into south central Caroline county southeast of Ruther Glen. The damage path was nearly continuous along this track, with damage intensity ranging from F0/F1 to strong F2/F3 in a couple of locations along the path.”  There should only one tornado listed.

Damage summary information from the April 1998 Storm Data Publication:

Damage path ranged from about 200 yards wide to near one quarter of a mile wide at its widest.  The most significant structural damage occurred to two homes east of Coatesville.  One home was completely destroyed and another severely damaged. Numerous other homes in northwest Hanover and south central Caroline counties sustained lesser damage.  In addition, two mobile homes were destroyed in Caroline county.  Several churches sustained damage, and several outbuildings were severely damaged or destroyed.  There were two areas along the tornado path where entire groves of pine trees were completely flattened by the tornado.  There was one minor injury in Caroline county.

There were two fatalities.  Sheila Giles and her infant son Jeremiah were killed in their home in Coatesville.

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

SPC coordinates:  Start: 37.88 / -77.62   End:  37.90 / -77.43

Used the beginning point of the Hanover County Entry and the ending point of the Caroline County entry   

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Images Courtesy of Bill Hark

The supercell that produced the Coatesville tornado. This was taken by Bill Hark at 635pm from Charlottesville (Albermarle County). He was looking east. This is about 35 miles away. The tornado developed at 1900 EST.
Destroyed home of John and Sheila Giles in Coatesville.
Coatesville tornado damage.

Newspaper Clippings

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