KENT ISLAND, Md. - A tornado touched down on Maryland’s Eastern Shore early Monday morning, the National Weather Service has confirmed.
The NWS out of Mount Holly, New Jersey, confirmed an EF-2 tornado hit near Stevensville in Queen Anne's County at about 1:29 a.m. Officials say the tornado had maximum winds estimated at 125 miles per hour.
"A waterspout developed over the Chesapeake Bay between Annapolis and Stevensville, Maryland just south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as estimated by radar velocity from the Baltimore-Washington Airport Terminal Doppler Weather Radar. The waterspout moved ashore at 129 AM in the Bay City Area of Kent Island and then traveled northeast toward Stevensville, Maryland where it lifted at 133 AM after being on the ground for about 2 miles," the National Weather Service said in their summary statement about the tornado.
The tornado caused extensive damage to homes while downing trees and power lines, leaving nearly 6,000 people without power in Queen Anne's County as on Monday afternoon.
Officials said only minor injuries had been reported from the violent storm that pounded the Eastern Shore. According to the National Weather Service, one person was injured after being punctured by debris.
Residents were asked to stay inside and to avoid down power lines. Aerial images over Kent Island showed several homes that were completely destroyed by the intense storm system.
The severe weather took down 300-year-old tree while also clobbering the home next door on Kent Island.
Strong winds pushed a home in the Bay City neighborhood in Stevensville clear off its foundation. Down the street, an 83-year-old man's roof was found several feet away after being ripped off his house.
Maryland state agencies were in the area Monday to help local officials assist the communities affected the severe storms. Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford toured the hardest hit area on Monday and reassured residents they had help.
“There is extensive damage,” he said. “You can see where it swept across a lot of the trees and a number of homes and businesses have been affected.”
“Lt. Governor Rutherford and I extend our support to the Kent Island community in the wake of last night's severe weather, which caused damage to multiple homes and buildings and left thousands of residents without power,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. “The state stands ready to assist in any way needed as the community works to rebuild.”
An emergency shelter will be open for those affected by storm at the Centreville Middle School located at 231 Ruthsburg Road in Centreville, Maryland. Residents who are in need transportation to an emergency shelters can call 410-758-2357 for assistance.
The shelter will accept pets. Also, the Animal Welfare League in Queenstown is available to shelter pets if needed. Red Cross personnel are also on hand to help with residents with food and water.
“[The residents] feel lucky," said Lt. Rutherford. "They are pleased with the fact that no one has died. There was one minor injury and we know that gentleman has been released from the hospital, so most people feel very fortunate.”
Drivers can expect major traffic delays in the Stevensville and Kent Island areas while cleanup takes place. The Maryland Transportation Authority put the Route 18/Bay Bridge emergency plan into place around noon Monday to try and clear the traffic jams in Stevensville. Under the plan:
- The Ramp from 50 Eastbound to Route 8 will be closed.
- The Ramp from 50 Westbound to Route 8 will only allow northbound traffic.
- The Ramp off 50 to Duke Street will be closed.
Motorists who live South on Route 8:
- Coming East you will need to take Thompson Creek exit and use the access road to Route 8 where residents will be screened.
- Coming West you will need to Route 8 North and then turn around in the business park to hit Route 8 South.