National Weather Service confirms EF-1 tornado in Mount Airy Friday

A powerful storm swept through parts of Mount Airy Friday night, downing trees and powerlines and causing damage to homes and businesses.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in Mount Airy Friday night, one of two that hit the state.

Kevin Witt, a meteorologist with the Sterling, Virginia, NWS office, said a team was going to survey the area Saturday to see if Friday night’s storm was a tornado, or just strong straight-line winds. A tweet at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday confirmed the tornado.


“There were some bad storms that went through that area,” Witt said, adding that there was enough damage and enough reports for the NWS to go out and survey.

A public information statement from the NWS released just before 9 p.m. Saturday provided more detail, including that the storm had estimated peak winds of 100 miles per hour.

The tornado touched down in northwest Howard County, about a mile south of Interstate 70 around 8:20 p.m. Friday, according to the statement. The tornado moved “quickly” north of the south branch of the Patapsco River and into Carroll, where a number of trees were downed in the Pheasant Ridge area.

The tornado continued to move into the retail area of Mount Airy, where the canopy over the gas pumps at High’s Dairy Store were partially torn off, and the T.J. Maxx roof was lifted and partially came off, according to the statement.

At the T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods store in the Twin Arch Shopping Center, sections of the ceiling collapsed, Doug Alexander, spokesman for the Mount Airy volunteer fire company, said Friday night.

Three minor injuries were reported, but all refused EMS treatment and transport, Alexander said Friday. There appeared to be minor damage to the exterior of the building but nothing serious structurally, he said.

The National Weather Service has confirmed that it was a tornado that caused storm damage in Baltimore city and county on Friday night.

The tornado continued north, where it partially tore off several outbuildings of the Knills Farm Market, and a silo was destroyed, according to the statement. The tornado crossed Watersville Road, breaking power poles and pine trees. Several homes along Arrowwood Circle had minor structural damage as a result, according to the statement. Multiple trees along the 6000 block of Runkles Road also snapped.

According to the statement, the last evidence of the tornado damage was seen on Gillis Falls Road where a few trees were uprooted.

Witt said rainfall came in anywhere from about .75 inches to 1 inch.

Carroll County Government encouraged residents with storm-related damages to contact their insurance carriers, according to a Facebook post. The county also warned of “potential scam situations that could present either door-to-door or by phone,” according to the post.

Storms weren’t just in the Carroll and Frederick areas Friday night. The National Weather Service also confirmed an EF-1 tornado also touched down in Baltimore, an incident that left two men dead.

The men were killed at the Amazon distribution warehouse in Southeast Baltimore which partially collapsed Friday, The Baltimore Sun reported.

A 50-foot wall collapsed at the Amazon Fulfillment Center as a storm swept through the area. One man was found under debris Friday night and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The second man who was unaccounted for Friday night was recovered around 7:30 a.m. Saturday.