MT. AIRY, Md. (WJZ) — A Carroll County community is recovering after a tornado hit the area Friday night, damaging businesses and homes.
The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado hit Mt. Airy Friday night.
Fortunately no one was injured, but it did cause extensive damage to buildings and homes.
Emergency crews rushed to the TJ Maxx and Home Goods after intense rain and strong wind whipped through the shopping center around 9 p.m.
Officials began to assess the damage Saturday morning.
“We had a partial roof collapse and the ceiling collapsed throughout the store dumping water within the store, the building officials in Carroll County have condemned the store for now until they can have further research,” said Doug Alexander, with Mt. Airy Volunteer Fire Company.
According to the National Weather Service, the tornado formed in northwest Howard County, one mile south of I-70 around 8:20 p.m.
The tornado quickly moved north along the Patapsco into Carroll County where a number of trees were downed in the Pheasant Ridge area south of I-70.
The storm then quickly moved to the Mt. Airy shopping area – tearing off part of a canopy over the gas pumps at High’s Dairy Store — then removed part of the roof at TJ Maxx. A number of trees also went down in the area behind the shopping center near the water tower.
The tornado continued north taking out the roofs of more buildings and destroying a silo at Knills Farm Market.
It peaked at 100 mph when the tornado crossed Watersville Road, snapping several power lines and trees in the area.
Homes along Arrowwood Circle and Runkles Road saw some damage on their properties.
The tornado damage was last observed on Gillis Falls Road where a few trees were uprooted, before it dissipated.
Cell phone video captured by a TJ Maxx customer shows the impact from inside.
“The water started coming through and pouring in, things were falling down, big pieces of the ceiling were falling down and making a lot of noise, people started screaming and running,” said Brian Albano, of Carroll County.
An uncommon force of nature for Carroll County.
“[We] get hit with a small micro tornado maybe once every five or ten years, and usually we are lucky it hits in rural areas where there are trees, and in this case it destroyed commercial buildings and homes,” Richard Rothschild, Carroll County commissioner, said.
Crews across the area are busy cleaning up the damage, but for those who lost power it could take several days to restore.
Emergency responders were overwhelmed by the volume of calls that demanded additional resources.
“We received assistance many agencies throughout the area to get the roads back open and taken care of so we wouldn’t have further problems,” Alexander said.
Now the focus is on the plan for recovery.
“We’ll look to see whether or not we can qualify for any type of state assistance, one of the things that concerns me is there may be some homeowners with downed trees that could be blocking them in,” said Rothschild.
Building officials and inspectors are still looking over the damage, it’s unclear if or when some of these places will reopen.