Annapolis planning and zoning inspectors on Friday completed assessing the damage a tornado caused when it tore through the Parole area Wednesday afternoon. It destroyed five buildings, condemned 26 others and displaced about 47 people in the city. There were no reported injuries.
The tornado touched down in Owensville and blew an 11-mile path northeast toward Annapolis Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. It wrecked homes in Edgewater and smashed businesses concentrated on West Street as Tropical Depression Ida swept across Maryland. The street reopened Thursday night after it was closed for a day from Chinquapin Round Road past Gibralter Avenue.
The remnants of Ida produced one of the strongest tornadoes Maryland has seen in the past 10 years, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service rated the tornado a Category EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which ranges from 0 to 5. The agency said the tornado reached winds of up to 125 mph, had a maximum width of 200 yards and lasted from 2 p.m. to 2:23 p.m. Only four other EF-2 or stronger tornadoes have occurred in the past decade.
NWS meteorologist Ray Martin said the tornado formed in the area west of Galesville and traveled northeast toward Annapolis. Additionally, the weather service confirmed that a tornado also touched down in the Edgemere area of Baltimore County at 2:48 p.m. and traveled 6.7 miles, with winds peaking at 85 mph before it ended around 3 p.m. That tornado was measured as a Category EF-0, the lowest rating.
September last year, thunderstorms produced a Category EF-1 that blew across 6 miles from Edgewater to Thomas Point. That rating brings winds of 86 to 110 mph.
City inspectors also reported Friday that 31 buildings sustained major damage and 44 buildings sustained minor damage. Most of the buildings were homes.
Before the storm crossed into Annapolis, the tornado ripped off parts of a stadium grandstand at South River High School and dropped a piece of the stadium’s concession stand atop trees. The wind gusts blew out the windows of the Center of Applied Technology South located behind the high school. School officials announced Friday CAT South’s school year will start Wednesday with virtual learning as crews make repairs to the building. Students can return to the building Monday, Sept. 13.
Neither school sustained structural damage.
The storm then moved into the communities of Woodland Beach, Londontowne and Edgewater before reaching Annapolis at 2:20 p.m. in its peak intensity with winds up to 125 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The tornado crossed Forest Drive at the intersection of Parole Street, where it damaged roofs and peeled the entire roof off one house. Several people reported seeing a funnel characteristic of a tornado as it smashed the structure of multiple buildings on its way to Bowman Court.
Around 41 residents in Anne Arundel County were still without power Friday, down from 2,500 buildings that lost power Wednesday. County emergency management officials said they estimate upwards of 100 homes in Edgewater and surrounding areas suffered severe damage and at least 19 homes were condemned as uninhabitable. Crews from county public works were still assessing the damage and expected to work through the weekend.
There are three road closures in Edgewater as of Friday evening: Mayo Road, Oakwood Road and Wilelinor Drive.
Couinty officials ask residents who had their homes or businesses affected by the storm to fill out a damage assessment survey online at https://www.aaedc.org/business/disaster-assistance/.
The city and county set up resources centers as “one-stop-shops” for residents to ask questions about insurance, applying for SNAP benefits and receive a hot meal. The center is open from from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Mount Olive Community Life Center on Hicks Avenue in Parole. The London Towne Community Hall on Mayo Road in Edgewater is acting as a county resource center from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Annapolis is hosting a “community clean up” Sunday in Parole for volunteers to help residents whose homes or property were affected by the tornado. Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves, wheelbarrows and other gardening equipment and meet at 12 p.m. outside the Parole Health Center on Drew Street.
Annapolis nonprofit Blessed in Tech partnered with the city to set up an Annapolis Tornado Recovery Fund that provides residents impacted by the storm with gift cards. Donations can be made by check or online at https://blessedintechministries.org/water-bill-relief-fund/.
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Baltimore Sun reporters Phil Davis and Tim Prudente contributed to this report.