The National Weather Service confirmed that two weak tornadoes touched down in northern Virginia on March 10, 2011. On Tuesday, the eighth, the 9 News Now Weather Team declared Thursday a "Severe Weather Alert Day". We declared Thursday a Severe Weather Alert Day for the potential of heavy rains, flooding and thunderstorms. Flooding and a mudslide on Canal Road slowed the morning commuters. The evening commute was slow from more heavy rain and flooding. Tornado warnings were issued shortly after 6 PM. We remained on-air live continuously from 6:18 PM - 6:45 PM ending coverage when the tornado warnings expired and then devoted the entire 7 PM newscast to tornado coverage in response to new tornado warnings.
The first tornado, with winds of approximately 90 mph, touched down in Bealeton in Fauquier County, Virginia. It was on the ground for four miles and caused multiple downed trees and also destroyed a barn. The second tornado, with winds of approximately 65 mph, touched down in Chantilly in Fairfax County, Virginia. This tornado caused some minor tree damage along its 4.5 mile track. However, fortunately no injuries or fatalities were observed. This is especially remarkable considering all the traffic on the roads during the evening rush hour.
Tornadoes are rare in the Mid-Atlantic Region, rarer still in March, so when atmospheric conditions became favorable for severe thunderstorms, the 9 News Now Weather team took action declaring a "Severe Weather Alert Day." 9 News Now was there showing exactly where the strongest winds were located and keeping those in the path of the tornado safe.