'Long-track tornadoes' impact communities outside of Washington, DC

Significant damage was reported in Gaithersburg, Maryland, including a home that was damaged when a tree fell on top of it, injuring at least five people.

WASHINGTON  Communities outside of Washington, D.C. and nearby Virginia and West Virginia are picking up the pieces after more than half a dozen tornadoes tore across the region, leaving trails of damage and injuring numerous people after severe weather on Wednesday.

Emergency officials said they believe at least one of the tornadoes touched down in the communities of Poolesville and Germantown in Maryland and injured at least five people.


Significant damage was also reported in Gaithersburg, where homes and cars were crushed by falling trees.

In Baltimore County, there were reports and videos of a tornado crossing Interstate 95 near Interstate 195 in Arbutus, with numerous trees and power lines being brought down.

The local National Weather Service rated five of the twisters as being EF-1s on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and two were considered to be an EF-0. 

  • Poolesville/Gaithersburg, MD EF1 – 105 mph
  • Arbutus, MD - EF1 – 105 mph
  • Middle River, MD - EF1 – 105 mph
  • Leesburg, VA - EF1 – 95 mph
  • Columbia, MD - EF1 – 95 mph
  • Eldersburg, MD - EF0 – 85 mph
  • Inwood, WV - EF0 – 75 mph

Several homes were also reported to be damaged in the Middle River area.

The National Weather Service said at least one of the Tornado Warnings rose to the level of a Particularly Dangerous Situation due to people witnessing the tornado.


"Based on spotters and camera footage, it appears the initial tornado went just south of Poolesville before dissipating," the NWS said. "Then an additional tornado developed west of I-270 near Gaithersburg before tracking east."

More than 13,000 power outages were reported across the mid-Atlantic, with the highest concentration being found in Maryland.

However, work to restore power began after conditions improved. According to PowerOutage.us, only a few thousand outages remained on Thursday morning.

"It appears we had two or three long-track tornadoes across the region," stated Jim Lee, meteorologist-in-charge for the National Weather Service’s Baltimore-Washington office.

Severe weather events, including tornadoes, are not uncommon around Washington and the mid-Atlantic. Just about a year ago, 80-mph winds caused widespread damage across the metro.