Representatives from the National Weather Service office in Charleston were in North Central West Virginia on Tuesday to learn more about the storm that caused so much damage over the weekend. Although most of the damage to trees and buildings in the area is similar, meteorologist Mike Zweir said there are some differences that need to be accounted for.
"In the area of Johnstown, there was more substantial damage, especially to the church and trees in the area. We've not determined what happened there just yet. We want to look a little more at radar and the way the land forms and wind flows in that area before we make a determination," Zweir said.
It's not just where the damage occurred that crews can learn from. Zweir said looking at what the storm damaged, moved, or otherwise tossed around can also help determine what kind of system caused it.
"If there's anything heavier that's been damaged, was it lifted or was it rolled, was it just pushed a little bit out of the way, so we're looking at all these different damage indicators to see which direction things were going, which direction the winds were blowing and how it all came together," said Zweir.
To many people, whether the storm was a tornado or a powerful thunderstorm may not make a difference; damage is damage, and where it's from shouldn't affect any claims. But Zweir said figuring out what came through can help the National Weather Service keep people safer in future storms.
"We use that to learn off of. We'll take this back and we'll compile all this data together and we can learn from it. That's really the main thing that we get from coming out and doing these damage surveys is to make sure that we're issuing the right products and we're doing a good job and can continue to learn and do better in the future," Zweir said.
Check out the official report at the StormTracker 12 Facebook Page.
The Johnstown United Methodist Church suffered structural damage from Sunday's tornado and is accepting donations to help repair the church as the cost of the damages will exceed insurance costs. Donations can be sent to Harrison County Bank PO Box 98 Lost Creek WV 26385 or drop them off at anyof the bank locations. Checks can be made payable to Johnstown United Methodist Church Restoration Fund.