Tornado touches down in Howard Co. during DC-area storms

The National Weather Service confirmed Thursday that a tornado touched down in Howard County, Maryland, at 3:34 p.m.

It happened in Columbia, along state Route 32. The EF-1 tornado took the roof off an office building on the 9700 block of Broken Land Parkway. An EF-1 level tornado has a wind speed of between 86 to 110 mph.

A line of strong thunderstorms passed through the D.C. area Thursday afternoon, bringing downed power lines, more than 100,000 power outages and at least a few swamped vehicles to the region.



Howard County spokesman Mark S. Miller said that there had been reports of many trees down along the northside of Maryland state Route 32 near the Shaker Drive area, and the National Weather Service surveyed the area to determine if a tornado touched down.

D.C.; Arlington, Virginia; and Hyattsville, Maryland, were under a Tornado Warning for a time. At 3:46 p.m., the National Weather Service said a severe thunderstorm capable of starting a tornado was located “over the U.S. Capitol, or over Nationals Park.”

Storm damage, road closures

In Rockville, Maryland, 16-year-old Sophia Abedellatif was home alone when the storm hit and the power went out in her house. She said that she went downstairs to get a drink and saw a fire outside and a huge tree that had fallen.

She called 911, grabbed her two dogs and waited outside in the rain for first responders. Her father, Yousef, was at work in Bethesda and he said that he “freaked out” when he saw the pictures she sent. He said that where the tree had fallen is where he would have normally parked his car had he been home.

High winds down a weeping willow in West Potomac Park in D.C. during a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
High winds down a weeping willow in West Potomac Park in D.C. during a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS) (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS) (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
(Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday's storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday’s storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday's storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday’s storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The storm may be over, but a downed tree blocks a lane on the Midcounty Highway in Gaithersburg, Maryland. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
The storm may be over, but a downed tree blocks a lane on the Midcounty Highway in Gaithersburg, Maryland. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
(WTOP/Mike Murillo)
(WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS) (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
(Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday's storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday’s storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Downed trees block the sidewalk near the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dan Friedell)
Downed trees block the sidewalk near the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dan Friedell) (WTOP/Dan Friedell)
A tree falls near the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool after a storm passed through the D.C. area on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Courtesy National Park Service)
A tree falls near the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool after a storm passed through the D.C. area on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Courtesy National Park Service) (Courtesy National Park Service)
Downed trees block the sidewalk near the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dan Friedell)
Downed trees block the sidewalk near the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dan Friedell)
A tree falls in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A tree falls in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A tree falls in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A tree falls in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A fire burst in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a tree downed wires during a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A fire burst in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a tree downed wires during a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Downed wires due to a fallen tree causes a fire during a storm in the D.C. area on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Courtesy Sophia Abedellatif)
Downed wires due to a fallen tree causes a fire during a storm in the D.C. area on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Courtesy Sophia Abedellatif) (Courtesy Sophia Abedellatif)
(Courtesy Sophia Abedellatif)
(Courtesy Sophia Abedellatif)
Cloud cover over the Beltway in Prince George's County on Thursday afternoon. (WTOP/Rick McClure)
Cloud cover over the Beltway in Prince George’s County on Thursday afternoon. (WTOP/Rick McClure) (WTOP/Rick McClure)
(WTOP/Rick McClure)
A view of Thursday afternoon's storm from WTOP's Dave Dildine. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
A view of Thursday afternoon’s storm from WTOP’s Dave Dildine. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(1/29)
High winds down a weeping willow in West Potomac Park in D.C. during a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday's storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday's storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
The storm may be over, but a downed tree blocks a lane on the Midcounty Highway in Gaithersburg, Maryland. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
Glebe Road is blocked between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, and is expected to stay that way for hours after Thursday's storm blew down a live oak tree and three poles, along with their wires. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Downed trees block the sidewalk near the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dan Friedell)
A tree falls near the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool after a storm passed through the D.C. area on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Courtesy National Park Service)
Downed trees block the sidewalk near the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Dan Friedell)
A tree falls in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A tree falls in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
A fire burst in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood after a tree downed wires during a storm on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Downed wires due to a fallen tree causes a fire during a storm in the D.C. area on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Courtesy Sophia Abedellatif)
Cloud cover over the Beltway in Prince George's County on Thursday afternoon. (WTOP/Rick McClure)
A view of Thursday afternoon's storm from WTOP's Dave Dildine. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

In D.C., a tree fell into a house on 18th Place in Southeast. No one was hurt, but two workers and a resident had to be evacuated. And that was far from the only house to be hit by a tree.

National Park Service crews cleared downed limbs and debris at the John Paul Jones Memorial on Independence Avenue.

The strong storms caused further damage to the toppled mulberry tree on the grounds of the Washington Monument that was repaired yesterday. NPS said that the force of the storm moved the tree’s temporary support, but the agency is hopeful that the tree can be saved.


Downed lines and debris in the roads are combining to play havoc on the roads; keep an eye on WTOP’s Traffic page.


Pete Piringer, of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said via Twitter that wires are down throughout the county, and that at least one road has been closed due to downed power lines, and that at least one person has already been rescued from a car that was stuck in high water on Rockville Pike near the Beltway.

In Arlington County, Glebe Road was closed between Henderson Road and U.S. 50, as crews cleared debris from a fallen tree.

Power outages in the area

Forecast

In the wake of Thursday’s storms, a cold front moves in overnight that will shift winds from south to northwest. The temperature drops to the near 50s, leading to a refreshing Friday with sunshine and lower humidity, Storm Team4 meteorologist Amelia Draper said.

  • Friday: Mostly sunny, breezy and warm but less humid. Highs in the low 80s.
  • Saturday: Partly cloudy and warm. Highs near 80 degrees.
  • Sunday: Partly sunny, hot and humid with a chance of thunderstroms. Highs near 90 degrees.
  • Monday, Memorial Day: Partly sunny, warm and humid. Highs in the mid to upper 80s.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo and Dave Dildine contributed to this report from Rockville, Maryland, and Arlington, Virginia.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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