The Bowie tornado had estimated max winds of 90 miles per hour, officials said, and was measured as ‘weak’ by the national rating system.
BOWIE, Md. — Officials from the National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes in Maryland Tuesday evening, one spotted in Prince George’s County and another in Anne Arundel County.
NWS said an EF-1 tornado hit just north of Bowie around 5:30 p.m. and a second brief EF-unknown tornado was recorded just before 6 p.m.
“EF” stands for the “Enhanced Fujita” scale, while the number measures tornado damage intensity. A rating of EF-1 communicates that the twister was weak while yielding moderate damage. Generally, a tornado with an EF-1 rating would have caused roof surfaces to peel off, mobile homes to overturn, or moving cars pushed off the road. Its wind parameters are from 86 to 110 miles per hour.
At 5:33 p.m., the EF-1 Bowie tornado measured max winds of 90 miles per hour. A supercell thunderstorm spawned the tornado, which started along the Howard/Montgomery County line.
The second tornado was spotted at 5:55 p.m. just north of Harwood, MD and lasted one minute. It traveled .1 miles along a 50-yard-wide path. There were no known injuries and the tornado was classified as an EF-U (unknown) as it hit in a field and didn’t cause any damage.
The National Weather Service detailed the extensive damage caused as a result of the Bowie tornado, including trees snapping and at least one instance of a house bearing the brunt on Stafford Lane.
The tornado was initially spotted around Tarragon Lane and spun eastward over the Bowie High School annex before heading into the Somerset subdivision, where officials recorded the majority of the damage was observed.
The tornado then lifted just before reaching the southern portions of Whitemarsh Park.
Officials said the most concentrated areas of damage occurred between Stafford Lane and Saber Lane, however, there were also several trees down in the area outside of the more concentrated tornadic damage, specifying that more occurred along Buckingham Drive perpendicular to White Marsh Branch, where trees fell on power lines and snapped several supporting utility poles.
The national tornado rating system goes from EF-U all the way up to an EF-5; the most violent and damaging of tornadoes. An EF-5 would encompass “incredible damage,” including strong houses being lifted off foundations and carried a considerable distance or bark ripped off the trees. The wind gusts would clock in at a minimum of 200 miles per hour.
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