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No injuries reported in Carroll County after tornado; warnings heeded, responders ‘worked well together’

Although an EF1 tornado with winds around 90 mph ripped roofs off buildings and downed trees across the Westminster area, county officials say locals escaped bodily injury in Friday morning’s storm.

Westminster police, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and Carroll County Emergency Management said Monday no injuries had been reported due to the storm.

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Valerie Hawkins, emergency management manager, said first responders from a variety of agencies came together to tackle the storm’s aftermath.

“There were a wide range of agencies and responders that took part," Hawkins said Monday. "I think they all worked well together.”

Five tornadoes touched down in the state Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. There also was an EF1 tornado in Frederick County near Monrovia; an EF0 tornado near Boyds and an EF1 tornado near Dickerson, both in Montgomery County; and an EF-1 tornado in northeastern Cecil County.

In Carroll, most of the uprooted trees and property damage was reported in Westminster with some isolated in New Windsor and Manchester. The county opened an emergency shelter at Winters Mill High School from about 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but none sought shelter, according to Hawkins.

“A lot of the damage was a situation where a building was affected by the tornado," Hawkins said, but she was not aware of any damage so extensive that people were displaced from their homes.

She said February is an unusual time of year for tornadoes, which typically manifest in the spring or summer months.

Hawkins was reminded of the tornado that hit the Mount Airy area in November of 2018. The National Weather Service estimated wind speed reached 100 miles per hour.

Hawkins recommends citizens have emergency plans in place for natural disasters and, in the event of a tornado, to seek shelter in the lowest area of a building away from windows and doors, and to listen to warnings issued by the weather service and county agencies.

“It sounds like many people heeded those warnings," Hawkins said.

She could not yet estimate the financial impact of the tornado to the county. Emergency responders and county staff who tackled the storm will come together for a meeting in the future to review how they responded to the storm and to consider what ways in which they can improve, according to Hawkins.

“We’re always trying to improve on what we’ve done and make the response even better," Hawkins said. “You can always find a way to make things better.”

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