Tornadoes smash record

November 04, 1994|By From Staff Reports

The five tornadoes Tuesday in the city and Harford County blew away a record set only a few months ago for the number of Maryland twisters in a year.

According to the National Weather Service, the two tornadoes in Baltimore and three in Harford County brought the number this year to a record 21.

The old record of 13 was set in 1992 -- thanks mostly to remnants of Hurricane Andrew that spawned 11 of them. Most of this year's tornadoes -- 14, spread around seven different counties -- occurred July 27.

Harford County also has had a record number of tornadoes this year, leading every other jurisdiction in the state with six. Charles County has had four twisters; the city and Anne Arundel, Calvert and Prince George's counties two each; and Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne's counties one each.

Weather Service meteorologist Barbara McNaught Watson said that during the 45 years that records have been kept on tornadoes, Maryland has averaged three a year. "This year," she said, "Maryland has seen seven times as many tornadoes as is normal for a given year. Part of the increase is due to increased population and better reporting of tornado events," she said.

Steve Zubrick, science and operations officer for the weather service's regional forecasting center in Sterling, Va., said Tuesday's tornadoes were unusual in hitting near a metropolitan downtown area. "If it hit a field 30 miles away, you might not hear about it," he said.

Mr. Zubrick said statistics show the major peak in tornadoes occurs in the spring and early summer, but there is a "secondary peak" in the fall.

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