Suffolk VA Sufolk Virginia Tornado Storms

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SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) - The National Weather Service says three tornadoes touched down in Virginia.

Meteorologist Bryan Jackson says the twisters hit Suffolk, Colonial Heights and Brunswick County on Monday afternoon. Authorities say at least 200 people were injured. Property damage was widespread.

Jackson says the Brunswick County tornado was estimated at 86 mph to 110 mph, and cut a 300-yard path of destruction. Assessments of the other twisters were planned for Tuesday, but Jackson described Suffolk's as a "major tornado."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Apparent tornadoes swept through central and southeastern Virginia on Monday afternoon, damaging multiple homes and buildings and injuring more than 200 people, authorities said.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine declared a state of emergency for the damaged areas of southeastern Virginia.

Two apparent tornadoes struck the city of Suffolk, city spokeswoman Dana Woodson said. Bob Spieldenner from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said at least 200 people were injured there.

At least 18 more people were injured when the storm hit Colonial Heights, Spieldenner said. Three of those were taken to hospitals. Woodson initially said one person died in Suffolk but later said the death was not connected to the storm.

Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk was damaged, but remained operational, Spieldenner said. Another hospital in the city also was treating the injured, Woodson said.

Sentara spokesman Dale Gauding said about 60 people were being treated, and he expected most to be released.

"We have lots of cuts and bruises," plus leg and arm injuries, he said. Some of the hospital's windows were cracked, apparently by flying debris.

"Multiple buildings have been destroyed, homes have been destroyed," Woodson said. She said the areas around the hospital and in the community of Driver were hardest hit.

The storm in Colonial Heights overturned cars and blew out vehicle windows in the Southpark Mall area. Some buildings also were damaged.

Southside Regional Medical Center treated one storm victim with minor injuries and was poised to receive more, hospital spokeswoman Terry Tysinger said. John Randolph Hospital in Hopewell was put on "high alert."

Property damage also was reported in Brunswick County, one of several localities where the National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning. Sgt. Michelle Cotten of the Virginia State Police said an apparent twister destroyed two homes. Trees and power lines were down, and some flooding was reported.

The National Weather Service had not confirmed any of the tornado reports, system forecaster Rick Curry of the Wakefield office said. However, he said the service was reasonably certain that a tornado hit Colonial Heights based on televised images and an eyewitness account from a weather service employee.

About 18,000 Virginia Dominion Power customers were without service.

The storm also damaged some homes in North Carolina, but the damage was not widespread or severe.

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