Stats

Path length: 1 mile

Width:Β  100 yards

Fatalities:Β  0

Injuries:Β  1

Rating:Β  F1

County:Β  Carroll

Tornado Path

SPC coordinates:

Start / End: 36.63 / -80.52

Introduction

A quick-hitting tornado struck in the dead of night along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Groundhog Mountain, VA, on August 1, 1965. Newspapers reported the event as β€œtornado-like,” but it did officially hit the records as a twister, rated F1. Numerous trees were mowed down, and one family in their new mobile home found themselves in harm’s way.

Summary

A storm producing heavy rain, severe winds, and at least one tornado moved along the Carroll/Patrick County line in Virginia at 2:30 AM ET on August 1, 1965. The Carroll News and The Roanoke Times both reported on this event, and details are gleaned from those publications, along with the August 1965 edition of Storm Data.

The twister hit about two miles east of Groundhog Mountain (elevation 3,031 feet). Damage was documented along a northeasterly path for about a mile and was most extensive along and south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Over 200 trees were uprooted or snapped, blocking secondary roads. Telephone lines were downed, and crops were ruined. Sporadic properties were struck, causing varying degrees of damage.

The Carroll News reported that the Vestal Puckett farm was the first to be impacted. A barn was smashed, and pieces were scattered over a couple of acres. The home was not damaged, but trees on either side toppled.

James Ayers, his wife, and three of their four children were sound asleep in their brand-new mobile home off Groundhog Mountain Road. The winds tipped the trailer, and it β€œrolled down an incline, smashing two large trees to the ground before coming to rest. It was demolished, as was the furniture and fixtures.” Everyone survived. Ayers and his wife crawled through a hole that had formed where the roof became separated from the walls. They helped their children to safety through a broken window. The family went to a hospital in Hillsville, and The Carroll News reported that the only injury was to Mr. Ayers, who had a bruised foot. At their property, a barn filled with hay was demolished. Two of their pigs were buried by debris but emerged unscathed.

The James Ayers family's overturned trailer. All inside survived the tumble down a bank. Image from the August 5, 1965 edition of The Carroll News.

As it neared the end of its short life, the tornado moved through an apple orchard, bringing down fruit-filled trees. Charles Bowman had a farm along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Carroll-Patrick County line. He lost several trees, and outbuildings were damaged. The home was unharmed. Beyond the Bowman farm, the last bit of damage was to small pine trees.

Uprooted trees in an apple orchard. Image from the August 5, 1965 edition of The Carroll News.

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC and NCDC Databases, the August 1965 Storm Data Publication, and newspapers, and found the following differences:

Counties:

  • The official record only lists Carroll County, but damage could have also occurred in Patrick County, especially near the end of the path.

Injury Count:

  • The official record states 5 injuries; newspapers reported only 1.

Sources

The sources compiled in our research for this summary can be found here.

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