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‘Microburst’ storm tears through parts of Baltimore County overnight displacing residents of at least three homes

John Darlington was getting ready to grab dinner with friends Wednesday evening when a tree came through the roof of his Timonium home.

“My wife comes running into the house saying there’s a tree in our living room and it was the tree right next to the house — a Scots pine, very big, very heavy,” Darlington, 81, said. “It’s pretty much decapitated the roof of the house.”

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John Darlington takes a photo as crane lifts the trunk of a scots pine away from his Timonium home. Darlington and his wife were home during the Wednesday evening storms when the top half of the pine snapped and fell through his roof.
John Darlington takes a photo as crane lifts the trunk of a scots pine away from his Timonium home. Darlington and his wife were home during the Wednesday evening storms when the top half of the pine snapped and fell through his roof. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

A storm with wind gusts of 60 mph moved through the Baltimore area Wednesday evening into the night, leaving behind scattered damage and debris, according to the National Weather Service.

The NWS credits a microburst, a strong column of air that blasts out the base of a thunderstorm, for most of the damage in Towson and Timonium. Winds in a microburst can reach 100 mph, equaling the force of an F-1 tornado, but without the formation of a funnel cloud.

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“We just saw a clear signature that basically the wind splat down pretty much right over that area and that’s likely what led to that amount of damage there,” said NWS meteorologist Cody Ledbetter.

A crane removes the trunk of a large scots pine away from John Darlington's Timonium home. Darlington and his wife were home during the Wednesday evening storms when the top half of the pine snapped and fell through his roof.
A crane removes the trunk of a large scots pine away from John Darlington's Timonium home. Darlington and his wife were home during the Wednesday evening storms when the top half of the pine snapped and fell through his roof. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

Emergency responders received 100 calls for service, concentrated in the Northern Baltimore County area, as a result of the storm, according to Baltimore County Fire Capt. Len Stewart.

“We did have a significant number of calls from Joppa road to the West corridor, which would be our Northern Falls road, Cockeysville and Sparks area, multiple calls for trees down, wires down,” Stewart said.

Three county homes were left uninhabitable due to damage from fallen trees, Stewart said. There were no reported injuries.

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Darlington said he and his wife are still shaken up by the incident, but are grateful for help from neighbors. The couple is staying with their daughter who also lives in Timonium.

A large tree hangs on utility lines after falling across Malvern Road in Towson during the Wednesday evening storms.
A large tree hangs on utility lines after falling across Malvern Road in Towson during the Wednesday evening storms. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

“We’re just numb. We’re just still in shock. We have great neighbors and great friends, who’ve made things more soothing than us just being by ourselves,” Darlington said.

BGE has restored power to 15,092 homes since Wednesday night. There are still 1332 customers without power in Baltimore County. Most of the power outages were concentrated in the Cockeysville and Towson areas, according to BGE spokesman Nick Alexopulos.

A driver passes several large trees that fell along Ellenham Road in Towson during the Wednesday evening storms.
A driver passes several large trees that fell along Ellenham Road in Towson during the Wednesday evening storms. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

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