- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Some St. Mary’s County residents were still cleaning up Monday morning after a weak tornado blew through Thursday afternoon. There were no injuries reported, said Bob Kelly, director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services and Technology. It was the second confirmed tornado to hit the county within a week.
Areas of St. John’s Road and Brown Road in Hollywood, the neighborhoods of Kingston Creek and Wildewood in California and the Town Creek and Esperanza Farms neighborhoods in Lexington Park saw damage Thursday, he said.
The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down Thursday in St. Mary’s, but was still working Tuesday to pinpoint exactly where. It was the second tornado to strike the county last week.
Crews from the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation were still out Monday morning removing roadside debris in Town Creek.
Residents there spent much of the weekend cutting up large, hardwood trees that were blown over or split in two. Jon Duffy, superintendent of Scott Enterprises, a Calvert County business, prepared Monday to work on a damaged home at Town Creek Drive and Rolling Road. Trees in the backyard came down onto an attached carport. No one was hurt, Duffy said.
“They all just fell on the house, all five of them,” he said. “These are good, strong trees.”
He expects it will take a week to make the repairs and the homeowners’ insurance company has been easy to work with.
The path of wind damage went down Rolling Road and East Sunrise Drive near the Patuxent River. When Duffy first came out to help in the debris removal, he said there were “20 neighbors attacking the trees, helping each other out.”
At the height of the severe storm, more than 12,000 customers lost power, said Tom Dennison, public affairs manager for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative. Service was restored by noon Friday, he said.
St. Mary’s County government opened the St. Andrew’s Landfill to accept yard waste for free on Friday, Saturday and Monday.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for central St. Mary’s after 3 p.m. Thursday. Text messages and audible alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to smart phones through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, from FEMA. St. Mary’s County’s CodeRed system was activated and sirens near fire departments blasted the warnings to take cover, Kelly said.
“We’re much, much better with the notifications but folks need to heed it,” he said. “Go to your basement, go to the center of your house and let the storm pass.”
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for a funnel cloud to touch down, whereas a tornado warning means a funnel cloud has been spotted or rotation is evident within a storm cell.
The emergency operations center in Leonardtown saw a high gust of 41 mph when the thunderstorm struck.
A weak tornado hit Colton’s Point on June 10, and was likely a waterspout in the Potomac River that came ashore, according to the National Weather Service.
Kelly noted that 17 days into the Atlantic hurricane season which began June 1, there have been two weak tornadoes in St. Mary’s County and one tropical storm system that brought more than 5 inches of rain to southern St. Mary’s on June 7 as it moved up the East Coast.