Tornado Damages Homes in Maryland; Thousands Without Power - NBC4 Washington

Tornado Damages Homes in Maryland; Thousands Without Power

State agencies will be in the area to help those affected by the damaging tornado.

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    Queen Anne's County hasn't seen tornado destruction in 15 years. The last time an EF-2 tornado touched down there was 2002. News4's Derrick Ward reports.

    (Published Monday, July 24, 2017)

    Residents on Maryland's Eastern Shore are cleaning up after a tornado ripped through the area early Monday morning, damaging homes, injuring one person and leaving thousands without electricity.

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said state agencies will be in the area to help those affected by the damaging tornado.

    A waterspout over the Chesapeake Bay moved ashore at 1:29 a.m. in the Bay City area of Stevensville, according to the National Weather Service. It moved northeast before lifting off at 1:33 a.m. after covering about 2 miles.

    Winds reached 125 mph, making it an EF2 tornado, the National Weather Service said. Officials said they received multiple calls for structural collapses, gas leaks and transformer failures.

    "Honest to God, it sounded like a train," said Bernadine Lichliter.

    Lichliter said a man living across the street had to crawl out of his home after the strong winds demolished his home. The man was taken to the hospital for a puncture wound. He was treated and released.

    State personnel were at the scene of the storms’ impact throughout the day and remained on the scene to assist with the damage assessment and to determine any resources the state can provide to area residents, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

    “Lt. Governor Rutherford and I extend our support to the Kent Island community in the wake of last night's severe weather, which caused damage to multiple homes and buildings and left thousands of residents without power,” said Hogan. “The state stands ready to assist in any way needed as the community works to rebuild.”

    MEMA, Maryland State Police, Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Human Services and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development are in the area to assist residents in various ways.

    Several News4 viewers sent in photos showing damage to homes in the Queen Anne's County. Strong winds ripped the roof off of a townhome community in the Ellendale area of Kent Island.

    Almost 3,700 people in the county are without power as of 9:34 p.m. Monday, according to Delmarva Power. County officials said several major power lines were knocked down by the storm, and it could be some time until power is restored.

    Residents in the area are being asked to stay inside until Delmarva Power can assess the power line situation.

    County officials said an emergency shelter is available for those affected by storm. The shelter at Centreville Middle School is also open to pets. The Animal Welfare League in Queenstown is also available to shelter pets.

    A family reunification site has also been set up at the Kent Island Fire Department.

    Maryland Emergency Management spokesman Chas Eby said high winds closed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for more than an hour, but engineers didn't find any damage.

    A tornado warning was issued for the area, and the National Weather Service said there were reports of roof damage and boats into yards. Heavy rain was reported in the region, including nearly 7 inches in New Castle County, Delaware.

    The Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, said it was the first tornado for Queen Anne’s County since June 2012 and the third EF2 since they started keeping records in 1950. They said it was the first strong tornado to hit Maryland since September 2004.

    Strong tornadoes are considered to be rated EF2 or higher.

    Their records showed the early Monday morning tornado was only the second strong tornado on record between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The first tornado hit at 3 a.m. and was associated with Hurricane Ivan in 2004.