Path length: 0.8 miles
Width: 200 yards
Today we look at a tornado produced by the remnants of Hurricane Gracie on September 30, 1959. Per an overview from the WPC, Gracie became a hurricane on September 22 near the Bahamas. It tracked into the southern coast of SC as a major hurricane late in the morning of the 30th.
Per the Tornado Project Online, Gracie produced a total of 7 tornadoes. Four occurred on September 30. There was an estimated F1 in Horry Corry, SC and 3 estimated F3 tornadoes in Virginia. This summary looks at one of those devastating F3s that occurred in Albermarle County, VA.
The SPC database and Storm Data entry have a path of less than one mile on this tornado. Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes as a 4 mile path. I have based my map below on that path length and on his entry on how the tornado tracked. The official SPC coordinates only have a beginning point and no end.
Another person died at a nearby house. Mrs. Lilly Bruce was killed when a chimney fell on her. Her husband and son survived.
I found a newspaper clip from October 23, 1959 from the Plain Speaker out of Hazleton, PA that stated that a paid-up bank note was carried from Mechums River, VA to near Lacy Springs, a good 50 miles away!
Click Map To Enlarge
Based this map on Thomas Grazulis entry in Significant Tornadoes. Moved East from the Mechums River near Crozet to Ivy, 6 miles West of Charlottesville. Added a USGS overlay which shows the Mechums River more clearly east of Crozet.
Note: Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.
We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the September 1959 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:
- SPC/NCDC have a 0.8 mile path length.
- Storm Data lists path length of 3/4 mile.
- Grazulis has a 4 mile path length.
- Grazulis has a width of 500 yards.
- Remaning sources have a 200 yard width.
- Grazulis lists 9 injuries.
- Remaining sources have 4 injuries.
Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1023.
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