Tornado damage still evident Monday

Residents, county employees and BGE crews were still picking up the pieces left by a hard-hitting F1 tornado that tore through Harford County Friday.

The storm's winds blew up to 100 mph that evening, according to a Harford County Government press release, and caused the most damage — estimated at $1 million — in the Fallston area.

"Approximately 60 volunteer fire and rescue personnel from several fire companies in the county responded to the primary incident located in the 2000 block of Belair Road in Fallston," the county's release stated. "Firefighters worked for nearly eight hours conducting search and rescue operations among other calls for service following touchdown of the tornado."

On Monday afternoon, street sweepers were still clearing debris along Summit Drive, and Old Joppa Road at Whitaker Mill Road was closed as BGE trucks appeared to be working not too far down the road.

Although homes on Woodbridge Manor Road appeared to be relatively unscathed, a Dumpster outside of one house was filled to the brim with brush and small tree limbs.

A few residents on Whitaker Mill Road also seemed to have cleaned up most of the damage, but trees were still down trees in yards, roots were sticking up and debris was blocking driveways of a couple houses.

The damage was done by one of at least nine tornadoes that touched down in Maryland on Friday, the National Weather Service reported.

They were the first tornadoes to hit the state this year.

About 26,000 residents and businesses were without power at the height of the storm, the release said, but service was restored to all customers by Sunday afternoon.

Numerous buildings suffered serious damage, with at least three totally destroyed, including a mobile office trailer, a one-story block auto refinishing and detailing business and a vacant one-story wood frame garage, according to the county's release.

Vehicles and other businesses also sustained moderate to heavy damage to roofs, windows and signs.

Three people were injured during the storm, one taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, another to Franklin Square Medical Center in Rosedale and the third received medical treatment on his own, the press release stated.

The victims transported were both suffering non-life threatening injuries when they were taken to the hospitals, Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association spokesperson Rich Gardiner said.

Roads to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center were not passable, he added.

"I applaud the prompt and efficient response of our fire and EMS personnel who did a tremendous job during the storm," Harford County Executive David Craig said in the release. "I cannot stress enough the importance of emergency preparedness to the citizens of Harford County, to help them be better equipped to deal with severe storms and weather events. There is no substitute for being property prepared for severe weather."

The areas most damaged by the storm were small businesses on Eutaw Avenue and homes on Milton Avenue, Whitaker Mill Road, Summit Lane, Stonewall Lane and Old Joppa Road near Country Life Farm.

"The Harford County Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits will be surveying businesses and residential properties hardest hit by the storm," according to the release. "The Harford County Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Management is assisting the Fallston community by providing six large Dumpsters to collect tree limbs and other storm related debris."

Although the rapid succession of tornadoes, which also hit Carroll, Montgomery, Prince George's, Carroll and Anne Arundel counties, was quite intense, none set records and isn't unusual for the state, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Maryland was recently ranked third in the Weather Channel's "Top Tornado States" list, seeing 9.9 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles between 1950 and 2010, according to The Sun.

Since 1992, Harford has had at least 10 tornadoes that rated at an F0 or F1. The worst, however, was in 1980 when an F2 twister destroyed seven mobile homes at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

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