Tornado Damage in Davidsonville? Photos of Saturday’s Storm Destruction
After the Derecho wind storm hit Maryland at the end of June, it seemed like South County had its share of violent weather for the summer. But on Saturday, another rough storm blew in, leaving debris cleanup for homeowners and thousands of households in South County without electricity.
But Mother Nature had more storms in store for us. Not another Derecho, but more than the typical summertime thunderstorm.
On Sunday in Davidsonville, lingering power outages fueled the rumor that a tornado had come through, causing serious damage. Thankfully no injuries were reported.
But still, we wanted to know if there was evidence to back up the tornado rumor.
What we found pointed to some sort of weather anomaly—be it a tornado, microburst or straight-line wind.
During the storm—at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday—the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Tornado Warning, saying the conditions were ripe for a tornado in the area of the Bowie Baysox Stadium. The alert read: “a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Prince George’s Stadium, moving east at 40 MPH.”
To investigate, we started in the area directly east of the Baysox stadium: Davidsonville Park on Patuxent River Road. There was little to no damage at Davidsonville Park. However, about .3 mile north of the park on Patuxent River Road, we found a half-dozen 40 to 50-foot tall trees uprooted.
Next, we headed over to Double Gate Road in Davidsonville. There we found one spot that seemed to have damage. BGE had just finished cutting tree branches off the power lines from a tree that had either been struck by lighting a couple of times or was the victim of serious winds. Alongside the tree, rows of corn stood straight and the pasture next to it looked like it always does—no damage at all. Just one isolated tree.
When we made our way to Mt. Airy Road, we found one spot that suffered serious damage during Saturday’s storm. In the 1000 block, branches—large and small—from the trees in front of the historic home Indian Range were strewn along the roadway and shoulder. In addition, a trampoline lay crumpled in the driveway across the street from Indian Range. It looked like a giant hand crushed it like a tin can. To my untrained eye, that kind of damage fit more with tornado than wind or lightning damage.
Another curious aspect is that the Mt. Airy, Patuxent River and Double Gate damage appeared to follow a path.
Next we drove through Kings Retreat, which would have been the next location along the path that wasn’t farmland. Right on the main road in that community we found a large tree down. There was no other visible damage in the neighborhood.
We headed to Holy Family Church and the parking lot out back to see if there was any damage there. We didn’t find anything significant. However, as we were pulling out onto Central Avenue, we saw a huge tree branch (two-feet across) down next to Davidsonville United Methodist Church. That made the fifth point along a fairly straight path.
For our final stop, we headed down Birdsville Road. There was significant damage among the trees in the forested area between the Green Cathedral and the entrance to Cottage Farm Estates. Again, this destruction fit the mold of a tornado and made for the sixth location along the path.
Here is what the damage and “path” looked like:
In an online conversation about these findings with meteorologist Justin Berk, he said that he had a photo of a waterspout that wasn’t reported. So no reported tornado doesn’t mean that one didn’t hit. He offered that the damage we documented in Davidsonville could have also been caused by straight line winds, which can be destructive and well over 70 MPH. That said, the door remained open as to whether or not these photographs proved a tornado had come through Davidsonville on Saturday.
Do you think a tornado twisted its way through Davidsonville? Or was the damage due to microbursts or straight line winds? Feel free to email photos to be added to this story (Mitchelle@southriversource.com), or comment below.