Tornado outbreak wasn't unusual for Maryland

While Friday's storms were the most intense seen in Maryland this year, with a rapid flurry of tornado warnings across the state over a few hours, they weren't record-setting or unusual.

After all, the Weather Channel recently ranked Maryland third on a list of "Top Tornado States" for its tornadoes per square mile. The storm backed up the ranking with precision -- the state has seen 9.9 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles from 1950 to 2010, and it saw nine tornadoes over its 12,400 square miles on Friday.


National Weather Service officials didn't have immediately handy the state record for most tornadoes in a day, but the nine tornadoes confirmed to have touched down so far were fewer than those in a tornado outbreak a year ago. A storm system that passed through from April 27-28, 2011, spawned 19 tornadoes across Maryland and Virginia, 11 of them in Maryland.

Of course, more tornadoes could be confirmed from Friday's storm to bring the total on par with the April 2011 storm. But a busy severe weather season will have to follow to set any records.


A record 24 tornadoes were reported in the state in 1995, and another busy year followed in 1996, with 20 tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.

Harford County has seen at least ten tornadoes since 1992, rated F0 or F1 twisters. Tornadoes in October and November 1995 tossed a large Dumpster 70 feet, uprooted 50 large trees and damaged roofs. The worst was an F2 that struck in 1980, destroying seven mobile homes at Aberdeen Proving Ground and damaging 17 more.

In 1978, an F2 tornado in Howard County between Damascus and Woodbine tore the roof off a house, destroyed a barn and killed 23 sheep inside before damaging Fort Meade considerably.

More recent years have been more quiet, but for some prominent examples -- the 2001 tornado that killed three people in College Park and the F4 tornado that devastated La Plata in 2002, the worst tornado in state history. In 2010, a small tornado was confirmed near Pasadena, and in 2011, at least six tornadoes were reported across the state.

It doesn't appear to be up to date for some of the most recent years' tornadoes, but a National Weather Service database shows most of the tornadoes on record for Maryland.

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