Andrea Pendleton, Mayor of Rainelle says the storm that ripped through Rainelle on July 23 was both a surprise with no warning from the weather service, and selectively destructive within the town.
Pendleton says the storm sounded and looked like a tornado. It was very dark outside, there was thunder and lighting. There was hail hitting glass as if rocks were being thrown. Sudden gusts of wind joined in the fray. Pendleton added that the storm knocked the power out by 10 p.m. and stayed out until early the next morning.
The town’s recently purchased Memorial Day flags were destroyed, and cars and homes were covered in mud, tree limbs, grass and leaves. Trees were uprooted in certain areas.
As reported in the Daily News, Paula Brown, deputy director of Greenbrier County Emergency Management services, stated that all of the light poles with 8 to 10 foot street over-hangs were snapped like toothpicks. The concrete-based light at the Go Mart was broken off at its base level. The roof at the vacuum cleaner section of the car wash was blown apart.
According to Brown, the National Weather Service says the storm was not a tornado, yet something called a collapsing storm, which produces micro-bursts of straight-line wind. These winds are very destructive.
Brown also stated that this wind burst was 300 yards wide and started at the Rainelle Elementary School, without causing damage to the school or anything significant to residences.
Appalachian Power restored power to both residences and businesses within ten hours of the storm, with only three residences still without power two days later.
The Town of Rainelle’s Facebook page had this to say, “Once again a storm arrived unannounced. The arrival of the storm has passed through with a force that left the citizens with an unstoppable energy by reaching out and helping others. Thank you, Rainelle, for your compassion! Sharing your kindness and showing your heart is what we do!”