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April 20, 2008 St. Charles and Chillum Tornadoes

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
923 PM EDT SUN APR 20 2008

...TWO TORNADOES STRUCK THE MARYLAND SUBURBS OF WASHINGTON SUNDAY 
AFTERNOON...

A TORNADIC STORM STRUCK THE WASHINGTON METRO AREA TWICE SUNDAY 
AFTERNOON. THE FIRST EVENT OCCURRED JUST NORTHEAST OF LA PLATA IN 
THE TOWN OF SAINT CHARLES IN CHARLES COUNTY MARYLAND. AT 2:09 PM EDT 
A TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF RENNER ROAD AND 
ROUTE 5/LEONARDTOWN ROAD. THE TORNADO TRACKED NORTH AND DAMAGED THE 
EASTERN SECTION OF SAINT CHARLES. THE MOST DAMAGED PARTS OF THE 
COMMUNITY WERE AROUND SNOWBELL COURT...SWEETBRIAR PLACE...AND 
NORTHGATE PLACE. THE DAMAGE INCLUDED SEVERAL LARGE TREES SNAPPED AND 
UPROOTED...SOME OF WHICH FELL INTO HOUSES AND ONTO VEHICLES. ALSO 
SEVERAL HOMES LOST ROOFING MATERIAL AND SECTIONS OF THEIR SIDING. A 
LARGE STORAGE SHED WAS ALSO SHIFTED OFF ITS FOUNDATION AND HAD SOME 
OF ITS DOORS BLOWN OUT. THE STRONGEST WIND FROM THAT TOUCHDOWN WAS 
ESTIMATED TO BE 80 MPH AND HAS THEREFORE BEEN RATED AN EF-0 ON THE 
ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE. THE LENGTH OF THE PATH WAS ESTIMATED TO BE 2 
MILES...WITH A WIDTH OF 50 TO 100 YARDS.

AFTER THAT TOUCHDOWN...THE TORNADO LIFTED. THE PARENT STORM THEN 
TRACKED TO THE NORTH PRODUCING NO KNOWN FURTHER DAMAGE...UNTIL THE 
STORM REACHED THE COMMUNITY OF CHILLUM JUST WEST OF HYATTSVILLE 
MARYLAND. AT 2:37 PM EDT...A TORNADO THEN TOUCHED DOWN IN CHILLUM AT 
A WATER PARK NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF SARGENT ROAD AND RAY ROAD. 
TREE DAMAGE WAS NOTED AT THE SPLASH PARK. THE TORNADO INTENSIFIED AS 
IT CROSSED A WOODED AREA AND FIELD BEHIND THE GEORGE E PETERS 
ADVENTIST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. PEAK WINDS ESTIMATED AT 100 MPH THEN 
STRUCK THE SCHOOL...LIFTING THE NORTHEAST SECTION OF THE ROOF OFF 
THE BUILDING AND THROWING MOST OF IT INTO THE DOWNWIND PARKING LOT. 
A CONSTRUCTION OFFICE TRAILER WAS ALSO THROWN ON ITS SIDE. SOME 
DEBRIS FROM THE SCHOOL WAS CARRIED HIGH INTO NEARBY TREES...SOME OF 
IT WAS BLOWN INTO THE METROPOLITAN ADVENTIST CHURCH ACROSS THE 
PARKING LOT DESTROYING SOME WINDOWS ON THE CHURCH. A PIECE OF 
PLYWOOD WAS CARRIED ACROSS RIGGS ROAD INTO PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY 
FIRE STATION 44...KNOCKING OUT THEIR POWER. A SCIENCE TEACHER IN THE 
SCHOOL AND A FIREMAN IN THE FIRE STATION BOTH REPORTED SEEING 
ROTATION AS THE DEBRIS WAS CARRIED BY THE WIND. THE STORM CONTINUED 
NORTH DOWNING TREES ALONG RIGGS ROAD...AS WELL AS A LIGHT POLE IN 
THE PARKING LOT OF A KMART SHOPPING CENTER ON RIGGS ROAD. THE 
STRONGEST WIND FROM THIS TOUCHDOWN WAS ESTIMATED TO BE 100 MPH AND 
HAS THEREFORE BEEN RATED AN EF-1 ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE. THE 
LENGTH OF THE PATH WAS ESTIMATED TO BE A THIRD OF A MILE...WITH A 
WIDTH OF 50 TO 100 YARDS.

THE TORNADO EF SCALE RATES TORNADOES AFTER THE FACT FROM 0 TO 5 
BASED ON THEIR ESTIMATED WIND STRENGTH. THE EF SCALE IS AN UPGRADE 
TO THE OLD F SCALE WHICH IT REPLACED IT IN 2007.

$$
STRONG/LEE

National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office Baltimore/Washington
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Sterling, VA 20166
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Page last modified: Apr 24, 2008 4:31 PM EDT
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