BALTIMORE SUN MEDIA GROUP
7:33 PM EDT, October 23, 2012
The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down, damaging several homes and sending a gazebo up onto a roof, in Jarrettsville during the storms that passed through the Baltimore metro area Friday evening.
"An EF-0 tornado with maximum winds of 80 miles per hour caused tree and minor roofing damage Friday evening between 7:07 p.m. and 7:12 p.m.," the National Weather Service said in a statement Monday afternoon.
The path of the tornado stretched 1.2 miles, according to the statement.
Tornadoes are ranked from EF-0 to EF-5 based on wind speeds and related damage, with the higher number being the most severe.
Two "narrow" swaths of damage were reported, the National Weather Service said.
"Damage occurred north along the 2100 block of Cox Road. Numerous trees and large tree branches were uprooted or snapped halfway up the base and folded across Cox Road and into the front yard of a residence," the NWS detailed statement said, adding a television antenna was blown off the roof and minor roof and gutter damage also occurred.
Several homes along the 3800 block of Breidenbaugh Court were also affected, as shingles and siding were stripped off of them, the weather service said.
A gazebo was lifted off the back porch of one home and planted on the roof, the weather service said.
Trees, power lines dropped
Just after 7 p.m. Friday, a 911 caller reported downed trees and power lines along a 100-foot wide path near Salem Church and Cox roads in Jarrettsville. About the same time, a gazebo was reported damaged near the intersection of Route 23 and Salem Church Road.
Around 7 p.m. Friday, Rich Gardiner, the Harford fire & EMS association public information officer, posted an advisory on the organization's Facebook Page that there had been a "confirmed tornado in Jarrettsville moving at 30 mph – take shelter at this time."
Two residents living in the area of Cox and Salem Church roads, about two miles northwest of Jarrettsville, posted on the Facebook page that trees were down in that area around 8 p.m. Friday.
Gardiner said Saturday morning that the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company sent people to the Cox Road area following Friday evening's report, but found "nothing significant."
"I talked to the chief, and he said there were a few trees down, some topped, but nobody actually saw the funnel cloud," Gardiner said. "We do want people to report what they saw to the National Weather Service. I expect they [NWS] will send someone out here to investigate."
Harford County emergency officials checked on the damage along Cox Road Saturday morning and termed it relatively minor, saying it mostly involved downed trees. One home also suffered some slight damage, Bob Thomas, the county government's chief spokesman, said.
Thomas said two officials from the Harford County Division of Emergency Operations were at a home in the 2100 block of Cox Road in Jarrettsville, where some of the suspected tornado damage occurred.
Russell Strickland, Emergency Operations director, and Rick Ayers, emergency manager, reported that the one-story rancher owned by Don Alcorn sustained minor damage to the rear of the structure, Thomas said. In addition, two large trees on the property were destroyed.
Thomas said the property is considered "the possible location of a tornado touchdown," and that the National Weather Service was en route "to determine based on their evaluation if this was in fact a tornado touchdown."
"Mr. Alcorn and his wife reported hearing a loud noise during the storm and subsequently found minor damage to the rear of their one-story home and two large trees on their property destroyed," Thomas wrote in a later news release. "The area of damage was a path covering approximately 400 feet."
Thomas said the damage to the home occurred at the height of Friday's storm between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Donald Alcorn said early Saturday afternoon that he was concerned one of the trees that had been damaged, but was still standing, might pose a threat to the home.
The damaged trees were at the rear of the Alcorn home, about 50 feet away in a wooded glade with a stream. Elsewhere along Cox Road, very little, if any, impact from the storm was noticeable.
Alcorn said what he assumed was a county crew came out early Saturday, around 3 a.m., to clear tree debris from the road.
A tornado had not been confirmed Friday night, but the damage is in an area that was under a tornado warning at the time of the reports, said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Konarik in Sterling, Va.
National Weather Service officials had said earlier Friday that a tornado had been confirmed near Jarrettsville, but later revised alerts to warn of a possible tornado.
The NWS did send a team to the Jarrettsville area Saturday afternoon to evaluate if there was a tornado touchdown, the county's Thomas said. The county reported Sunday that the initial conclusion was reached that the damage was likely to have been caused by a tornado. A final determination that it was a confirmed tornado was announced Monday afternoon.
Other parts of the county experienced heavy rainfall and localized flooding Friday night, Thomas said; however, "no other serious incidents were reported."
In addition, he said, no injuries were reported to the EOC as a result of the storm.
With regard to notifications, Thomas said the Division of Emergency Operations issued a tornado warning at 6:53 p.m. Friday, followed by emergency telephone calls through a countywide alert system at 7:03 p.m. The warning remained in effect until 7:30 p.m., he said.
A tornado touched down in Fallston on the evening of June 1, damaging several commercial buildings and homes and knocking down trees and power lines in the corridor along routes 1 and 147.
Elsewhere in the Baltimore region, Friday's storm first prompted a tornado warning at about 6:30 p.m. covering Cockeysville and later Phoenix, Sparks and Monkton. Baltimore County emergency officials reported seeing a funnel cloud near Brooklandville at 6:30 p.m.
By about 10 p.m., all of the thunderstorm activity had moved east of the Chesapeake Bay, Konarik said. The Baltimore region now appears in the midst of a week-long dry stretch.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. reported at about 10:30 p.m. Friday that there were 47 power outages in Baltimore County, 200 in Harford County, 400 outages in Howard County and 234 in Baltimore City.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Scott Dance, Steve Kilar, Bryna Zumer and Allan Vought contributed to this article.
Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun