An EF-1 tornado that seemingly popped up out of nowhere in the Mount Airy area last Friday caused a harrowing situation for quite a few residents, whether at home, on the road or shopping at the Twin Arch Shopping Center, where the storm lifted the roof of the T.J. Maxx store and sections of the ceiling collapsed.

Winds during the tornado, one of two confirmed in the state that night, peaked at around 100 mph according to the National Weather Service.


Mount Airy tornado leaves residents shaken, looking to begin cleanup

Carroll County residents and those traveling near Mount Airy during the EF-1 tornado event in Mount Airy Friday, Nov. 2 described it as unsettling and memorable.

Fortunately, while the storm was frightening, there were no serious injuries or fatalities as a result reported in Mount Airy. At the Amazon warehouse near Dundalk in neighboring Baltimore County, two people died as a result of a tornado there, the first tornado deaths in Maryland since 2002.

The Mount Airy storm did, however, cause some significant property damage in our community, and residents will likely be spending some time getting trees and debris cleared from their properties, and damage to their homes repaired.

If your home or vehicles incurred storm-related damage, you should contact your insurance company if you haven’t already. Make sure to take pictures and video of any damaged property as soon as possible.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Carroll County government warned residents of “potential scam situations that could present either door-to-door or by phone.”

Unfortunately, after weather events like this, unscrupulous scammers and individuals tend to come out of the woodwork, looking to make a quick buck at the expense of someone already going through a stressful situation. You can protect yourself by knowing what to look for.

Oftentimes, an individual may begin making rounds in a neighborhood hit by severe weather, offering to do work at a cheap rate … so long as you’re willing to make a down payment for the work that day — in cash.

Scammers aren’t fools. They might mention that they are doing work for a neighbor and have looked up other residents’ names on your street in an effort to make you feel more comfortable.

Homeowners should be wary of anyone requesting a cash payment up front. Most legitimate contractors will schedule an appointment and bill you after the work is completed. By paying them up front or in cash and without any paperwork, you risk the person never showing back up to do the work promised or doing a poor job, then demanding more money to do it right. And it leaves you with little recourse.

Sometimes, these offers may be too good to be true, and it makes it hard to pass up. A good piece of advice is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Here's why there was no tornado warning before deadly storm touched down in Maryland

Meteorologists were expecting some gusty winds and brief heavy rain as a line of storms approached Maryland on Friday. Not multiple tornadoes.

Even if they offer paperwork and seem legitimate, never sign anything on the spot. Take any information they may have and a business card, then research the company and give them a call to make sure it’s legit before having any work done. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The person might try to pressure you into making a quick decision by offering a deep discount. Don’t fall for it. If the company isn’t willing to honor an estimate while you do additional research, they might not be the type of company you want to do business with anyway.

Get a written estimate before starting any work, ask the contractor for a few references and check them, and do some research by checking out the company with the Better Business Bureau or crowdsourcing on social media. Never pay for work until you have a written contract and have read through it.

Take these steps, and you’ll be protecting yourself and your wallet.