Small tornado touches down in southern Charles County

Several barns destroyed

no injuries reported

May 19, 2002|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

A small tornado struck southern Charles County yesterday morning, downing trees and destroying barns, almost three weeks after the county was hit by one of the most violent tornadoes recorded in Maryland.

The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado after investigating damage in the area yesterday.

"There wasn't much in the way of structural damage," said Barbara Watson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Most of it was flimsy barns and sheds that were flattened."

The tornado was ranked as F0 to F1, with peak winds estimated between 60 mph and 80 mph, she said.

It touched down about seven miles south of La Plata, the site of the April 28 tornado, which was ranked as F4 with winds as high as 250 mph. The twister caused six deaths and damage estimated at more than $100 million.

"This is like a little puff of wind, compared to what came through here on the 28th," said Nina Voehl, a Charles County spokeswoman. "But now, everybody around here is on high alert."

Watson said the tornado was part of severe weather that began moving across Southern Maryland about 7 a.m. She said it came in near Pope's Creek Road, crossed Route 301 and tracked about five miles to end at Bud's Creek Road.

The storms toppled trees and destroyed two barns near Bud's Creek Road, Voehl said. One barn was downed at Keechland, a historic home and farm. Winds also ripped some siding off a screen porch at the house, and a tree fell on a tenant house, she said.

"This was very minor damage, but still, we don't need anymore," Voehl said. "But it wasn't anything where we had to muster the forces or open shelters."

Authorities said they were not aware of any injuries caused by the weather.

Watson said yesterday's storms - which brought heavy rains and pea-sized hail - also caused scattered damage in St. Mary's and Calvert counties.

The period after the La Plata tornado was marked by more severe weather across the state, including a smaller May 2 twister that tracked across a portion of Cecil County.

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