National Weather Service says Edgewater tornado was an EF-1 with winds reaching 90 mph

Edgewater tornado trees sheered
The tops of trees were sheared off when a tornado touched down in Anne Arundel County’s Edgewater area. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

<p>A trampoline was picked up and moved by the fierce storm. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)</p>
A trampoline was picked up and moved by the fierce storm. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

roof damage after tornado in Edgewater
Shingles were ripped off roofs in Edgewater after a tornado ripped through. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Edgewater tornado damage
A tornado touched down in Edgewater, Maryland, leaving behind damage. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

tornado damage near Annapolis
Trees and power lines are left scattered near the site where a tornado touched down near South River Bridge near Annapolis.

<p>High winds sent a poplar tree into a house near Annapolis Thursday.</p>
High winds sent a poplar tree into a house near Annapolis Thursday.

<p>A view of Thursday&#8217;s storm system looking east toward Prince George&#8217;s County from D.C.</p>
A view of Thursday’s storm system looking east toward Prince George’s County from D.C.

Edgewater tornado trees sheered
<p>A trampoline was picked up and moved by the fierce storm. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)</p>
roof damage after tornado in Edgewater
Edgewater tornado damage
tornado damage near Annapolis
<p>High winds sent a poplar tree into a house near Annapolis Thursday.</p>
<p>A view of Thursday&#8217;s storm system looking east toward Prince George&#8217;s County from D.C.</p>

The tornado that touched down Thursday in Edgewater, Maryland, was an EF-1 tornado with peak winds of 90 mph that uprooted several trees, downed power lines and damaged some homes, the National Weather Service said.

The assessment comes after an on-the-ground survey Friday by meteorologists with the weather service. The tornado was on the ground for about 10 minutes and traveled just over 6 miles toward the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Tornadoes are rated on a scale of EF-0 to EF-5, with EF-0 causing the least damage.

In its preliminary report, the weather service said the tornado reached its peak strength in the area of Edgewater bounded by Solomons Island Road (Route 2), Virginia Avenue and Ridge Avenue.

Siding was torn from the wall of one home, large branches were ripped from trees and a commercial fence was blown down. Some homes and vehicles were also damaged by falling trees and tree branches.

Most of the damage was to trees, and about 10 trees were uprooted entirely, the weather service said.

Neighbors spent most of the day cleaning up debris, and power crews worked to restore electricity. The weather service said some power lines were snapped by falling trees and trees branches.

“The wind was ferocious,” resident Robin Ward told WTOP.

“I can’t remember when I’ve ever seen lightning so fierce and intense,” said Ward, who lives in the community of about 100 people off Virginia Avenue and Solomons Island Road in Edgewater.

“We can’t even get out of the neighborhood … There are big trees that are uprooted and down, and electrical poles that the tops are sheared off and wires are down. It’s bad,” she said.

The Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management opened its online “damage assessment portal,” which allows residents and businesses to report any damages they suffered in the storm. The information is used by county officials to determine the extent of the damage, and residents are reminded it is not a substitute for submitting insurance claims.

The tornado began as a supercell thunderstorm raced across central Maryland on Thursday evening.

The weather service confirmed the twister at 5:58 p.m., just south of South River, and said shortly after 6 p.m. it was moving east toward the Bay Bridge and advised everyone in the area to take cover.

No serious injuries were reported.

“I’ve never been through anything like it,” said resident Dan Clune. “The wind was blowing real good, too.”

The tornado tore off siding and shingle along Maryland Route 2, just south of the South River bridge, and it toppled sheds and play equipment.

The tornado weakened to an EF-0 as it crossed Solomons Island Road, meaning wind speeds had dropped below 85 mph, but the storm continued to cause scattered tree damage, the weather service said.

A large tree was uprooted on the soccer field of the Key School in the Hillsmere Shores neighborhood, with one large branch causing damage to the protecting netting and metal framing attached to a scoreboard, according to the weather service.

Nearby, a dozen 30-40 foot tall pine trees were uprooted and scattered “criss-crossed in a northeast and southeast fashion,” the weather service said.

In addition to Anne Arundel County, tornado warnings were issued in Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Baltimore and Prince George’s counties on Thursday afternoon.

After Thursday’s heavy rains and fierce winds, the D.C. region should see a beautiful weekend ahead.


  • Friday: Partly to mostly sunny. Highs in the mid- to upper 80s.
  • Saturday: Sunny and very pleasant with low humidity. Highs around 80.
  • Sunday: Mostly sunny skies. Highs in the low 80s.
  • Monday: Mostly sunny and continued pleasant. Highs in the mid 80s.

Current conditions

Outage Map

WTOP’s Dave Dildine contributed to this report.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

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