Reporting Mike Hellgren
OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ)– Cleaning up the mess in Ocean City. The National Weather Service (NWS) is trying to decide if a tornado caused the damage. Many people were caught off-guard by the storm.
Mike Hellgren surveys the damage.
Right now, the cleanup is underway, and many people who lived through it still can’t believe what happened.
Captured on camera from angle after angle, the funnel cloud moved fast toward the beach in Ocean City and left John Hutchinson scared for his life.
“Next thing I knew, ‘Whoosh!’ And I could see this funnel cloud, the tornado, snaking its way across the ocean,” Hutchinson explained.
He says the building shook, his heart was pounding, and in a matter of seconds, it was all over.
“My heart still beats a little fast when I talk about it,” he said.
Heavy pieces of roof were thrown by the storm.
A massive crane and dozens of workers cleaned up the mess at the Ocean Villas on 75th Street where Hutchinson lived, and where the storm sheared off the roof.
“By the time the wind had started, I had to walk backwards because the wind was so strong. It was like being hit by a sandblaster,” one witness said.
For many, there is no doubt this was a tornado, but the NWS will have the final word.
“My expectation is, they’re calling it something, but at this point, we’re not saying if it is or isn’t,” said John Theobald, director of Emergency Services in Ocean City.
“I was actually stunned. I have never seen one develop in front of my eyes like that before,” said another witness.
The storm even sucked one woman down the hallway. It’s remarkable for the fear it caused, the damage it did and for what it spared.
“It could have been worse. Nobody was hurt. We’re all lucky. Very lucky,” an Ocean City resident said.
There were no reports of injuries, no loss of life in Ocean City. No warning was ever issued by the NWS on the likelihood of a tornado. It expects to know by Saturday if it in fact was a tornado.