A late summer afternoon thunderstorm in the D.C. suburbs is commonplace for residents. But on Monday, June 19, this storm proved to be much more.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a tornado struck in a Silver Spring neighborhood near the Dennis and Edgewood Avenue intersection. The NWS reports the tornado to be of the EF-0 class, meaning wind gusts of 65 to 85 miles per hour.
The powerful wind gusts uprooted multiple trees, took down power lines, and two homes were rendered uninhabitable as a result of the tornado.
Julia Kemp, a homeowner of 23 years in the affected area, described her account of the windstorm, saying, “It was about 3:48, my son had just called me. I was on the phone and could hear the storm coming, the rain and the wind. The wind got really, really strong, like I had never heard it before…and there was just this crashing on the roof. Banging, banging, over and over. I thought for sure that one of these trees was coming down. I ran back and forth between a couple of bedrooms looking at the ceiling, looking for branches. It calmed down, and I finally came out and the whole front lawn was covered in branches, you couldn’t walk out the front door without moving them. The whole neighborhood looked like a war-zone.”
In addition to fallen tree branches spread across Kemp’s lawn, a small trampoline, set up in the back of the home, was sent airborne in the strong winds. The trampoline missed the home entirely but crashed into and bent around a tree behind Kemp’s home.
Kemp considers herself lucky to only sustain minor damage, “Our neighbors, across from me, had the worst of it. An entire, enormous tree came right through the middle of their house…It’s really a miracle that it was right here and there was no damage to the house or to anybody in my home. It’s hard to believe a tornado happened here. That happens other places, not here.”
The destroyed home Kemp mentioned was one of the two deemed to be unlivable. As noted by Kemp, a tree came crashing down into the roof of the house; in many places the branches of the tree went straight through the roof and into the home. Parts of the roof were completely crushed by the tree, and segments of the front facing of the home looked to be partially detached from the main structure.
Homes were not the only things damaged by uprooted trees. Trevor Hirst, another homeowner in the neighborhood, had almost no damage to his home. His car, however, is another story.
A tree branch struck and went through the roof of Hirst’s Infinity SUV. Other debris dented the hood and roof, while one of the back windows was completely shattered.
The neighborhood continues to clean up from the storm with assistance from Montgomery County which has helped in the process of picking up the branches and transporting them away in trucks. In addition, a cleanup team worked all through the night on Monday and into Tuesday morning.
A few people were taken to the hospital in the wake of the storm, but injuries reported have so far been only minor.
The tornado was extremely short-lived, as the NWS reported it lasted around a minute. However, as the twister touched down in a developed area with many large trees and homes in close proximity to each other, the fact that only two homes were severely damaged, with minor damage in the surrounding area, and that no one was seriously hurt is, as Kemp put it, “a miracle.”