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Maryland weather: Strong winds in forecast Saturday after tornado warnings issued across the state Friday

Multiple tornado warnings were issued across Maryland on Friday as a potent line of storms moved through the state.

Behind them, strong winds are forecast to continue into Saturday. A wind advisory is in effect to the north and west of Baltimore, including Howard, Carroll, northern Baltimore and northern Harford counties, from 2 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gusts from the west could reach 55 mph, meteorologists warned.

Cooler weather also moved in quickly behind the storms. Temperatures dropped from 75 degrees to 61 degrees at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Temperatures were forecast to slide into the upper 40s by early Saturday morning.

By Friday evening, the weather service canceled tornado watches that had been in effect across most of the state through 9 p.m.

As storms covered the state Friday afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologists saw as many as three possible tornadoes. They briefly issued a tornado warning in the Rockville area around 3 p.m.

Soon after, they said radar indicated a possible tornado in the Cockeysville area, warning residents that an intense storm cell was moving toward the Jarrettsville area of Harford County.

That storm caused some damage, the weather service said. Meteorologists received reports of large tree limbs downed in Jarrettsville and at the intersection of Shawan and Falls roads in Hunt Valley.

In the 4000 block of Norrisville Road near Jarrettsville, a tree was reported to have fallen on a house, the weather service said. Harford County spokeswoman Cindy Mumby said that when first responders arrived, they found a large branch across a roof but no damage or injuries.

Meteorologists also warned of a tornado that may have crossed the Chesapeake Bay and through the upper Eastern Shore. About 4 p.m., they said a severe storm appeared on radar to be rotating as it crossed the Chesapeake Bay headed northeast from Anne Arundel County’s Bodkin Point. Tornado warnings were issued across parts of Queen Anne’s, Kent and Cecil counties.

Brian LaSorsa, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Baltimore/Washington forecast office, said Friday evening that he could not confirm that any tornadoes occurred.

“We’re still kind of getting information in,” he said.

A tornado warning does not mean a tornado has been confirmed. Meteorologists issue tornado warnings when a funnel cloud has been spotted, or when radar indicates rotating winds within an intense storm cell. The weather service said Friday the tornado warnings issued in Maryland on Friday were based on radar.

If damage is found in any of those warned areas, weather service meteorologists would conduct surveys to determine if a tornado occurred and to calculate its strength.

LaSorsa said he didn’t know yet whether any damage surveys might occur Saturday.

How meteorologists determine whether tornadoes touch down »

In the event of any tornado warning, residents are urged to seek shelter in the lowest possible interior room of any home or building, away from windows.

Other reports during Friday’s storms included a 76 mph wind gust was reported from a buoy off the Manokin River in Somerset County, and penny-sized hail in Anne Arundel County. Large tree limbs were reported downed across much of northern Baltimore and Harford counties, and in Anne Arundel.

The storms moved through as a cold front approached the region. Cooler temperatures and drier air are forecast for the weekend, with windy conditions expected Saturday as the front moves off the coast. High temperatures are forecast in the 60s Saturday, and around 70 degrees Sunday.

The storms came a week after dangerous storms passed through the Southeast, but weakened by the time they reached the Baltimore region. Tornadoes were confirmed as close as Reston, Va., last Friday.

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