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Cleanup Continues After ‘Unusual’ Tornadoes Hit Eastern Shore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Still reeling from tornadoes, people in two Eastern Shore communities are assessing the damage and beginning to rebuild.

Unusually strong summer storms over the past two weeks spawned powerful twisters that destroyed homes, but spared lives.

The recovery in Salisbury and Stevensville continues, but some residents are wondering why the weather warnings came just minutes before the storms hit.

The National Weather Service says the tornado on Kent Island was atypical because it happened in the middle of the night, the tornado in Salisbury had low-level rotation that was hard for radar to detect.

In both communities, there’s a lot of work left to do.

Clean up is moving quickly in Salisbury, but the memories of the tornado that tore through on Monday, with winds more than 100 miles per hour, are fresh as ever.

“I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do. So I just ran and got in my tub,” said Eboni Shockley.

NASA released new high resolution images of Monday’s super cell storm, showing evidence of rotation.

The National Weather Service didn’t put the area under a Tornado Warning until after the twister hit, saying the low level rotation typical of twisters spawned from tropical systems is tough to detect.

“Because it really didn’t give us much clue as to when it was going to happen until about the time it actually touched down,” said Bill Sammler, with the National Weather Service. “So it wasn’t one of those, kind of classic plains-type tornadoes that you see the rotation on the radar.”

Unlike in the Midwest, super cells in Maryland are usually smaller and don’t last as long.

“Came downstairs and looking out at the backyard, and it’s like, none of the trees were there. And then my phone or Linda’s phone goes off, telling us that there’s a tornado warning,” said Fitzhugh Turner. [Reporer: After?] “After [the tornado].”

Weeks prior, in Queen Anne’s County, the National Weather Service did not warn people until an EF-2 tornado was right on them.

That was also an unusual storm, forming as a waterspout in the Chesapeake Bay.

“In Stevensville, it occurred in the middle of the night,” Sammler said. “That’s quite unusual outside of a tropical event.”

People are still cleaning up.

“Now it’s down to, the let’s get it fixed, and that’s a slower process,” said Linda Turner.

Both Queen Anne’s County and MEMA officials are going door-to-door. They want to hear from you if you have damage to make sure you qualify for all the help you can get.

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