MOUNT AIRY, Md. —
The National Weather Service determined Saturday that an EF-1 tornado caused storm damage Friday night in Mount Airy.
Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees told 11 News that strong storms moved through the southern part of Carroll County around 9:15 p.m.
When asked whether he thought a tornado tore through Mount Airy, DeWees said, “I’m sure to the folks here, it felt like one. We’ll let the experts decide on that.”
In confirming the tornado, the weather service said it started around 8:20 p.m. in extreme northwestern Howard County about a mile south of Interstate 70. The tornado downed numerous trees north of the south branch of the Patapsco River into Carroll County in the Pheasant Ridge area south of I-70.
It ended about 4.7 miles away in Mount Airy. An estimated maximum wind speed was 100 mph and had a maximum path width of 400 yards.
Photos and videos from 11 News viewers show major storm damage in parts of Mount Airy.
“Strong storms, a lot of rain, real strong wind came through. We’re actively working three specific incidents, but there’s also a lot of downed trees, downed power lines, somewhat chaos around the area,” DeWees said.
The tornado proceeded to move into the retail area of Mount Airy, where a canopy over the gas pumps at High’s Dairy store was partially torn off, and the TJ Maxx roof was lifted up and partially removed. There were also numerous trees down behind the Twin Arch Shopping Center near the water tower, the weather service said.
“Strong winds came through and took a portion of the roof off TJ Maxx and a couple of the other stores in this particular shopping center. In TJ Maxx were several customers. No one was injured significantly, which is very fortunate,” DeWees said.
There was also major damage from downed trees at the Pheasant Ridge Estates mobile home community. Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Co. spokesman Doug Alexander said many roads were blocked by downed trees and power lines.
“We had quite a few calls at one time. The TJ Maxx call was the first and probably most significant, because we had potential life hazard. We also had a situation at a mobile home park, where we had three trailers heavily damaged by trees falling on them,” Alexander said.
The sheriff said much of Carroll County experienced the severe storms.
“It went through really quick, not only here, but it looks like it went north through the county, because up in Westminster area and the northern parts of Manchester and the Hampstead area, we also experienced high winds, downed trees, power lines, that sort of stuff, but no homes damaged, nothing like we have in the southern end of the county in the Mount Airy area,” DeWees said.
The weather service said the tornado continued north, where the roofs of several outbuildings of Knills Farm Market were at least partially blown off and a silo was destroyed.
As the tornado crossed Watersville Road, it snapped several power poles along with the snapping of five pine trees at a house. Several houses along Arrowwood Circle were impacted with minor structural damage. Numerous hardwood trees were snapped along the 6000 block of Runkles Road.
The last evidence of tornadic damage was observed on Gillis Falls Road, where a few trees were uprooted just east of Runkles Road. Radar imagery from the Federal Aviation Administration’s terminal Doppler weather radar showed the tornadic couplet dissipate north of Gillis Falls Road, the weather service said.
by WBAL-TV 11 (2018, Nov 3)