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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 06/22/2009

Saturday's Baltimore and Bay Twisters

By Jason Samenow

* Sweet Days to Start the Week: Full Forecast *

62009_Water_Spout_Chesapeake_Bay-Michael_Ney.jpg
A waterspout over the Chesapeake Bay near the Baltimore Light (in the background) just before 4 p.m. on Saturday. Photograph courtesy CWG visitor Michael Ney.

Though severe weather avoided the D.C. metro area on Saturday, locations to the east and northeast witnessed some violent storms. For the second time in as many weeks, a tornado was reported in Baltimore County. Saturday's twister, which touched down in Essex and skipped along a five-mile path, was rated an EF-1 for peak winds around 90 mph by the National Weather Service (NWS). According to a NWS statement, the tornado uprooted "dozens" of trees and caused minor shingle and siding damage. A weaker tornado (rated EF-0) swept through portions of Harford County.

A little closer to home, a waterspout (essentially a tornado over water) formed on the Chesapeake Bay just east of Anne Arundel county. Eyewitness Michael Ney, who photographed the image above, described the scene in an email to CWG...

Keep reading for more on Saturday's waterspout(s) over the Bay...

The light house in the picture is the Baltimore Light. [The photo] was taken [Saturday] at 3:56pm ... After this photo, the funnel consolidated into a single larger funnel that unfortunately didn't show up well in photos and tracked to the ESE. This photo is from within a minute of formation (I saw it form before running and grabbing the camera). The storm was well over a mile away when the photo was taken and moving away from me (Baltimore Light is about 1 mile away, and this was beyond it).

Ney's account is consistent with the official report provided by the NWS:

A STORM MOVING OVER NORTHERN ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY MOVED OUT OVER THE CHESAPEAKE BAY. A WATERSPOUT FORMED AT 3:52 PM AND MOVED ACROSS THE BAY...PASSING JUST NORTH OF LOVE POINT ON NORTHERN KENT ISLAND. THE WATERSPOUT DISSIPATED OVER THE CHESTER RIVER AT 4:10 PM BEFORE IT COULD STRIKE ANY LAND. MOTORISTS ON THE BAY BRIDGE COULD SEE THE WATERSPOUT AND SEVERAL PICTURES WERE TAKEN.

Why did these storms occur near Baltimore and over the Bay? The NWS suggests it was the interaction between the cold front pushing through the region and a local Bay breeze:

MUCH OF THE REASON FOR THIS WAS DUE TO THE STORMS IMPACTING THE BAY BREEZE OVER THESE COUNTIES. THE BAY BREEZE IS WHERE SLIGHTLY COOLER AIR OFF THE BAY MOVES OVER THE ADJACENT SHORELINE COMMUNITIES AND SHIFTS THE SURFACE WIND DIRECTION ENOUGH TO ASSIST WITH TORNADO FORMATION.

The good news is that no injuries or fatalities were reported in association with these storms.

More Baltimore/Bay Twister Coverage:
Maryland Weather Blog (Baltimore Sun/Frank Roylance)
Baltimore Weather Examiner (Tony Pann)

By Jason Samenow  | June 22, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Thunderstorms  
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Comments

It's thought that the topography of the Eastern Shore can sometimes induce the formation of local wind-shear and outflow boundaries which occasionally make the area a mini-Tornado Alley. This was discussed at some length a few years ago when the F4 tornado hit the La Plata/Waldorf area.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | June 22, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Great shot, Michael. Thanks for sending it in!

I wouldn't have wanted to be stuck in traffic on the Bay Bridge while watching a waterspout form close by (well, who am I kidding, part of me would have).

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | June 22, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Figures, I go out of town for ONE weekend, and we get tornadoes here. All the while I'm stuck in a day-long deluge of stratiform lameness.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | June 22, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Nice photo Michael!

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | June 22, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Micheal, great photo! The keepers of Baltimore Light are always looking for interesting shots of the lighthouse, any chance of getting a larger copy emailed to keeper (at) baltimorelight.org?

For your viewing pleasure, here's some video from onboard the light, during a storm last summer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgzTbT68Qv4

Posted by: BaltimoreHarborLight | June 22, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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