STEVENSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down near Stevensville in Queen Anne’s County around 1:30 a.m. Monday.
Kent Island residents are reeling after the E-F2 storm, with winds reaching 125 miles per hour, left behind extensive damage and power outages in its two-mile path.
This is the third tornado ever to strike Kent Island in modern history, and the strongest.
Officials say it began as a waterspout that developed over the Chesapeake Bay between Annapolis and Stevensville just south of the Bay Bridge, which then moved ashore and traveled northeast.
“The house was rattling and rolling it was quite intense,” says Joel Breth, who was at home with his granddaughter when the storm hit.
Authorities tell WJZ there are some injuries from the storm, but no fatalities.
“I have nothing left,” says Lewis Solano. He was the only person who was hospitalized. The 81-year-old suffered a puncture wound and cuts to his feet. He was in bed when the tornado struck.
“I heard this tremendous crash, and this piece of wood fell on my back. I jumped out. I had nothing on but an undershirt and my bare feet. I hid by the car,” he says.
Authorities say calls for structural collapses, downed trees, gas leaks, and transformer failures flooded the 911 center.
“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 Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement. “The state stands ready to assist in any way needed as the community works to rebuild.”
TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION
Some residents, considering the extent of the damage, are astounded that there weren’t any serious injuries or deaths, Mike Schuh reports.
One house looks OK at first, but if you inspect it closely, you can see that it was moved between five and 15 feet off its foundation.
Another was speared by a flying tree.
“Well a lot of the trees were actually picked up and thrown,” the resident explained, saying the one that hit his house came from another yard altogether.
One home simply collapsed. The walls are gone, and the roof is in a neighbor’s yard.
WJZ’s Mike Hellgren spoke with a man, Mark French, whose home was completely destroyed. The man says the storm sounded “like a freight train coming through.”
“Devastating, just devastating. It’s like a war zone. My wife and I were both in bed room on the far side of the house. That’s the only part of the house on the far side that is still there,” he says.
“My house is destroyed, they’re going to probably take bulldozers and knock my house down,” French said.
In Stevensville, nearly two dozen headstones were crushed by flying debris.
French said neighbors have offered to host him, “but nobody has power,” he says.
“The major problem is there are power lines down throughout the whole community,” Director of Emergency Services for Queen Anne’s County Scott Haas said. “As the power company works on this situation, we don’t want anyone to get connected with a charged line.”
The storm snapped and toppled metal and wooden power lines alike.
At one point, 9,000 people were without power, though that number dropped to about 6,000 by 12 p.m. Monday. Power crews are working to restore power to people throughout the neighborhood. It may be restored by Tuesday night.
A list of outages from Delmarva Power can be found HERE.
HOW TO HELP
American Red Cross Responders are currently on site at the Kent Island Fire Hall supporting a Reception Center at the request of Emergency Management. Meals and water are being provided as well as mental health support.
Maryland State Police has sent 25 troopers and civilian personnel to assist.
A shelter was opened at Centerville Middle School by the local Department of Social Services. The Red Cross is supporting with supplies.
Two Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles are on location and are providing mobile feeding and water distribution to the affected communities.
Anyone who wants to help is also encouraged to donate to the Red Cross Greater Chesapeake. To find out how, CLICK HERE.