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Posted at 7:30 PM ET, 11/18/2010

Tornado touched down in Baltimore Tues. night

By Jason Samenow

* Recap of the fierce midnight Nov 17 storms *
* Baltimore tornado damage photos and radar imagery *

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Sterling has confirmed a tornado carved a 0.4 mile path through northeast Baltimore and Parkville in Baltimore County Tuesday night (or, precisely, 1:35 a.m. Wednesday morning, Nov. 17).

The twister, linked to three minor injuries, grew to a maximum width of 250 yards and packed peak winds of around 100 mph. It was on the ground for less than a minute according to NWS. The storm was classified as category one on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) tornado scale, which ranges from zero to five.

Meteorologist Tony Pann's Baltimore Weather Examiner blog indicated that in northeast Baltimore City, the Dutch Village Apartments suffered blown out windows, roof damage, and a partial building collapse from the storm. The National Weather Service's report linked this damage to the tornado.

Despite the confirmation of a tornado, the NWS found much of the wind damage experienced in Northeast Baltimore was attributable to a macroburst from the same thunderstorm that spawned the twister.

Read the National Weather Service's full report after the jump...

AFTER AN EXTENSIVE REVIEW OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION WEATHER RADARS...GROUND OBSERVATIONS... AN AERIAL SURVEY...AND EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS...THE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS DETERMINED THAT A TORNADO ESTIMATED AT A CATEGORY 1 ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE STRUCK NORTHEAST BALTIMORE DURING THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 17TH...WITH ESTIMATED WIND SPEEDS FROM 85 TO 100 MPH.

THE TORNADO WAS FORMED WITHIN A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS WHICH SPANNED FROM PENNSYLVANIA TO NORTH CAROLINA ON WEDNESDAY MORNING NOVEMBER 17TH. THIS LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS WAS RACING TOWARDS THE NORTHEAST AT 70 MPH AS IT CROSSED THE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON REGION. IT IS HYPOTHESIZED THAT A STRONG DOWNBURST OF WIND...ALSO KNOWN AS A REAR-INFLOW JET...DESCENDED FROM APPROXIMATELY ONE MILE HIGH IN ATMOSPHERE DOWN TO THE GROUND...AND BECAME COINCIDENT WITH THE LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS AS IT MOVED ACROSS THE CITY OF BALTIMORE.

THIS STRONG DOWNBURST OF WIND CAUSED A BREAK IN THE LONG LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS AND CREATED TWO SEPARATE THUNDERSTORM LINE SEGMENTS. THE STRONG DOWNBURST OF WIND CONTINUED TO MODIFY THE THUNDERSTORMS...CREATING A SWIRLING WIND AT THE SOUTH END OF THE NEWLY FORMED NORTHERN SEGMENT. THE SWIRLING WIND IN THIS TYPE OF THUNDERSTORM SYSTEM IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS A BOOKEND VORTEX...AND IT RESULTED IN THE GENERATION OF A BRIEF EF-1 TORNADO.

THE PATH OF WIND DAMAGE FROM THE THUNDERSTORMS THAT ALSO PRODUCED THE BRIEF TORNADO STARTED ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY IN NORTHEAST BALTIMORE CITY AND THEN CONTINUED FOR APPROXIMATELY 5 MILES TO THE NORTHEAST TO GUNPOWDER STATE PARK IN BALTIMORE COUNTY. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF WIND DAMAGE ALONG THE 5 MILE LONG PATH WAS DUE TO STRAIGHT LINE WINDS FROM THE DESCENDING REAR-INFLOW JET AS IT HIT THE GROUND...REFERRED TO AS A MACROBURST. EMBEDDED WITHIN THE DAMAGE PATH OF THIS MACROBURST WERE TWO AREAS OF DAMAGE THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE EF-1 TORNADO.

THE DAMAGE FROM THE EF-1 TORNADO WAS IN TWO SEPARATE AREAS A HALF MILE APART. THE FIRST AREA WAS ONE-TENTH OF A MILE LONG AND 175 YARDS WIDE THAT INCLUDED THE DUTCH VILLAGE APARTMENT COMPLEX. THREE OF THE UNITS HAD THEIR ROOFS BLOWN OFF. THE ROOFS WERE NOT CLIPPED TO THE STRUCTURES. THERE WAS EXTENSIVE TREE DAMAGE. SEVERAL CARS WERE SHIFTED BY THE FORCE OF THE WIND. THE TORNADO LIFTED BRIEFLY. THEN THE SECOND AREA... APPROXIMATELY A HALF MILE NORTH OF THE FIRST AREA...WAS ONE-THIRD OF A MILE LONG AND 250 YARDS WIDE...CENTERED ON THE PERRING PARKWAY SHOPPING CENTER IN PARKVILLE. EVIDENCE OF THE TORNADO INCLUDED RETAIL PROPERTY SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS WHICH SHOWED DEBRIS BLOWING IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS...TREES AND LIGHT POLES FALLING IN A CONVERGENT PATTERN...EYEWITNESS REPORTS...AND LEAF SPATTER ON ALL FOUR SIDES OF AUTOMOBILES AND STRUCTURES.

WITH THE SPEED OF THE STORMS MEASURED AT 70 MPH...ALONG WITH A DAMAGE PATH OF 5 MILES FROM THE THUNDERSTORM...IT IS DETERMINED THAT IT TOOK ONLY 4 MINUTES FOR THE MACROBURST TO ACCOMPLISH ITS 5 MILEPATH OF DAMAGE. WITHIN THIS 4 MINUTE TIMEFRAME...THE EF-1 TORNADO WAS ON THE GROUND FOR LESS THAN 1 MINUTE.

THE STORM PREDICTION CENTER IN NORMAN OKLAHOMA...IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE...ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR THE REGION AT 12:06 AM EST WEDNESDAY. A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH IS ISSUED WHEN CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR DAMAGING THUNDERSTORMS. THIS ADVANCE NOTIFICATION WAS APPROXIMATELY 90 MINUTES PRIOR TO WHEN DAMAGE OCCURRED IN BALTIMORE CITY AND BALTIMORE COUNTY.

THE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR BALTIMORE CITY AND COUNTY AT 1:04 AM EST WEDNESDAY MORNING. A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN WINDS OF GREATER THAN 58 MPH ARE EXPECTED. THIS WARNING PROVIDED APPROXIMATELY 32 MINUTES OF LEAD TIME PRIOR TO WHEN THE DAMAGE OCCURRED IN BALTIMORE CITY AND BALTIMORE COUNTY.

RECEIVING LIFE SAVING WARNINGS AT NIGHT CAN BE ACHIEVED WITH A NOAA WEATHER RADIO...WHICH CAN BE SET TO ALARM ONLY FOR LIFE THREATENING WATCHES AND WARNINGS FOR YOUR PARTICULAR COUNTY. FOR MORE INFORMATION...VISIT WWW.WEATHER.GOV/NWR

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE BALTIMORE COUNTY OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT...THE BALTIMORE CITY MAYORS OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT...THE BALTIMORE COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT...THE BALTIMORE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT...AND THE MARYLAND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FOR THEIR ASSISTANCE IN THE SURVEY.

By Jason Samenow  | November 18, 2010; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  Thunderstorms  
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Comments

Really glad no one was hurt! Kinda incredible, actually-- ya know?

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | November 18, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Camden -- incredible indeed! The other night I was up late when the storms were coming through; I thought at the time it was kinda crazy to be under a severe thunderstorm warning in the middle of November, not even thinking that a tornado might occur! Very glad it wasn't worse than it was, although the image of that apartment building with the roof torn off was jarring.

Posted by: natsncats | November 18, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

More of this year's Weird Weather.

Posted by: --sg | November 19, 2010 4:19 AM | Report abuse

Thank goodness this was a middle of the night happening. There could have been so may more injuries.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | November 19, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

DON'T BUY TRAVELERS INSURANCE!!
I am still waiting for this company to make good on settlement of a claim from extensive property damages I suffered in July of 2010. I have been given nothing but a runaround and BS by TRAVELERS!

Posted by: 10bestfan | November 19, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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