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National Weather Service EmblemD.C. Listing of Historical Tornadoes

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Notes about this page:

The following is a working document. All tornado data below are accurate to the best of our knowledge, but are considered preliminary and may be incomplete. The database contains tornadoes up to 2001. We are currently working on a project to update the regional tornado climatology from 1950 through current.

Prior to 1950, we are attempting to pull historical tornado data together from various sources to build one single data base of all tornadoes ever recorded in the Baltimore-Washington Forecast Office's area of responsibility. The historical tornadoes are listed in chronological order by county and by state. The counties are listed in alphabetical order. If you come across any historical information that could add to this document and help us in this process, please forward it to .

The National Weather Service has transitioned to the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale; see for more information about the EF-Scale) since February 2007. This document references tornado damage through the old Fujita Damage Scale (F-Scale), which was used to determine the tornado strength based on observed damage prior to 2007. The damage scale increases in intensity from a weak F0 (40 to 70 mph wind) to a F5 (over 260 mph wind). 



District of Columbia
  • August 25, 1814 in the early afternoon, a strong tornado struck northwest Washington and downtown. The severe  tornadic storm arrived the day that the British Troops had set fire to the Capitol, the White house and other public buildings. The storm's rains would douse those fires. The tornado did major structural damage to the residential section of the city. More British soldiers were killed by the tornado's flying debris than by the guns of the American resistance.  The tornado blew off roofs and carried them high up into the air, knocked down chimneys and fences and damaged numerous homes. Some homes were destroyed. It lifted two pieces of cannon and deposited them several yards away. At least 30 Americans were killed or injured in the heavily damaged buildings and an unknown number of British were killed and injured. (Lat./Long. = ...)
  • September 16, 1888 at 1515 hours EST, a F2 tornado in the 900 block between 9th and 10th streets along the south edge of the downtown area. It moved up Maryland Avenue. Two homes were unroofed, the roof of the National Museum was damaged, as were the Botanical Gardens. The funnel lifted at the foot of Capitol Hill. The damage path was 2 miles long and 70 yards wide. No injuries or fatalities were reported. (Lat./Long. = ...)
  • April 5, 1923 at 1430 hours EST, a F3 tornado touched down in Rock Creek Park and moved to just north of the Silver Spring train station. The damage path was 11 miles long  and 110 to 250 yards wide. There was no fatalities, but 20 people were injured. The tornado demolished seven houses and damaged 12 more. Hundreds of  trees were uprooted and snapped. Damage was $100,000 (1923 dollars).  (Lat./Long. = ...)
  • May 14, 1927 at 1800 hours EST, a F0 tornado briefly touched down near Capitol Street and Rhode Island Avenue.  The damage path was only 0.2 miles long and 50 yards wide. There was no fatalities nor injures. Damage was minor and was estimated at $1,000.  (Lat./Long. = ...)
  • November 17, 1927 at 1425 hours EST, a F2 tornado crossed the Potomac River from Arlington and swept across the Navy Yard near 8th and M street SW. The tornado swept from Southeast to Northeast DC. It passed where RFK now stands and missed the Capitol Building by just 9 blocks. It dissipating near East Riverdale, MD in prince Georges County. The damage path was 3 miles long in the District and 140 yards wide. The total path length was 17 miles long. There was no fatalities, but 50 people were injured. In DC, a total of 439 buildings suffered damage. Damage was estimated at $200,000 (1927 dollars). (Lat./Long. = ...)
  • May 21, 1943 at an unknown time, a waterspout sighted over the Potomac River moved inland as a F0 tornado passing within a few yards of the Jefferson Memorial before dissipating.  The path was 0.2 miles long and only 25 yards wide. There was no damage or injuries. (Lat./Long. = ...)
  • May 21, 1943 at an unknown time, a funnel was sighted and thought to have briefly touched down near the Naval Hospital. The path was 0.1 miles long and only 10 yards wide. There was no damage or injuries. (Lat./Long. = ...)
  • May 18, 1995 at 1322 hours EST, a small F1 tornado struck the National Arboretum. The path was 0.5 miles long and 50 yards wide. The tornado uprooted dozens of trees at the National Arboretum and then crossed the Anacostia River uprooting a tree and snapping others. Damages were estimated at $50,000. (Lat./Long. = ...)
  • Tornado Summary Table:
  • Total #
    70 +
    $350,000 + 

Last Updated on June 15, 2011 by NWS Baltimore/WashingtonNational Weather Service Emblem


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