STEVENSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — It has been a year since a tornado struck one Maryland community.
In July 2017, a tornado touched down near Stevensville in Queen Anne’s County in the middle of the night.
The tornado was rare for a couple of reasons.
First, how strong it was. The majority of tornadoes in Maryland are an EF 0 with max winds of 85 mph.
But this was an EF 2 with winds of 125 mph.
Besides the winds, the tornado was rare because of how it formed.
WJZ’s Meg McNamara shows us what an EF2 tornado would feel like at The Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel at the University of Maryland.
“This wind tunnel has been used mostly for testing airplanes, cars, trucks, boats and for people to experience the damaging winds associated with hurricanes and tornadoes,” said Dr. Jewel Barlow.
It should be simple enough, you would think.
They strapped Meg down so she wouldn’t go flying. She was so nervous she almost forgot her goggles.
“I bet I’ve never looked better,” Meg joked.
Then the wind started.
“So far, it’s just refreshing,” she said.
That’s when she realized it was only at 20 mph. Things quickly changed.
“Oh, boy. Oh my gosh,” Meg said. “So we’re at 40 mph right now and it’s already intense.”
At that point, the WJZ photographer had to leave the tunnel because it wasn’t safe without being strapped down.
“Winds right now are at 75 mph and it is so intense,” Meg yelled.
She said she was miserable, but told them to crank it up anyway.
“Winds are now at 95 mph and this is pretty brutal,” Meg said.
She made it to 115 mph, which is the maximum that they let people experience, but she said she was so disoriented, she forgot to cue to stop. Luckily, they figured it out.
“Oh my gosh. That was so crazy. OK, yay! How am I looking?” Meg said.
At 60 mph, Meg said it was pretty intense and she was ready to call it quits. But then it went up to 115 mph, which is still 10 mph weaker than an EF 2 tornado.
It’s hard to imagine.
If you do ever find yourself in the path of a tornado or where there is a tornado warning, officials offer these safety tips:
- If you can safely get to a sturdy building, then do so immediately.
- Go to a safe room, basement, or storm cellar.
- If you are in a building with no basement, then get to a small interior room on the lowest level.
- Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
- Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
- Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
More information on how you can protect yourself from a tornado can be found on Ready.gov.