The National Weather Service is investigating a possible tornado in Salisbury that downed trees, damaged houses and flipped cars on Monday afternoon as strong storms swept across Maryland.
The weather service said it received multiple reports of damage, most concentrated around Salisbury University along South Salisbury Boulevard. The agency said it planned to survey the area first thing Tuesday morning to confirm whether a tornado had struck.
The possible tornado hit around 1:40 p.m.
"It appears very likely there was a tornado, but we cannot confirm until we do a damage survey," said Alec Butner of the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Va.
The storm started near the university campus, flipping cars and damaging buildings in that area, said Dave Shipley, the director of emergency services for Wicomico County. It traveled across the university's athletic fields and ended in a residential neighborhood near John and Roger streets, he said. Crews were out assessing the extent of the damage.
Possible tornado touches down Monday in Salisbury. (WJZ video)
There have been no reported injuries so far, said Capt. Rich Kaiser, a spokesman for the Salisbury Police Department. He said some homes were damaged and many wires and trees were down.
"A lot of rain came at once," he said. "It was very dark and the winds picked up dramatically."
The weather service had issued a thunderstorm warning at 1:37 p.m., saying that 60 mph winds were possible, and urged people to be alert for possible tornadoes.
Salisbury University spokesman Richard Culver said that there were no reports of students being injured and that most damage was minor. He said the main campus suffered some debris blown by the wind and the east campus, where the athletic fields are, had some light poles and trees down.
The reports come weeks after a tornado with 125 mph wind gusts tore a damaging path through the Stevensville area of Kent Island. It also comes after severe storms hit Baltimore County and heavy rains caused flash flooding in Harford County and other areas over the last week.
Heavy rain fell on the Central Maryland region for most of the day Monday with 0.63 inches recorded at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The rest of this week is expected to be calmer, according to the weather service, with highs in the low 80s and sunny skies.
St. Mary's County, Ocean City and Accomack County, Va., on the Eastern Shore also were under a tornado warning on Monday afternoon. A waterspout was confirmed by a trained spotter over Tangier Sound in the Chesapeake Bay, Butner said. The weather service isn't investigating any other possible tornadoes, he said.
About two inches of rain fell in Salisbury as of 5:30 p.m. Monday, Butner said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Dance contributed to this report.