Tornado Confirmed in Salisbury, Damage Shows Winds Reached 100mph

It’s official—the National Weather Service (NWS) has determined the damaging storm that hit part of Salisbury, Maryland Monday afternoon was an EF1 tornado.

Tommy McManus

Based on the storm’s ability to flip cars over at a strip mall, and rip the back walls off of an open warehouse, NWS estimates the tornado’s winds were between 100 and 105 miles per hour. Its path was about 1.5 miles long, and 100 to 150 feet wide. It tracked quickly along the south side of the city, near Salisbury University.

Bill Sammler, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for NWS in Wakefield, Virginia, explained that this tornado was unusual. It behaved, said Sammler, like a tropical tornado, with all of the rotation happening low in the atmosphere, but no tropical system was present.

“There was not much clue as to when it was going to happen until it actually touched down,” said Sammler in Salisbury on Tuesday.

Despite the lack of warning that the tornado was about to hit, Salisbury’s residents managed to escape without any serious injuries.

Salisbury Mayor Jacob Day said there is “a real sense of relief” circulating the city.

“It’s incredible that no one was injured,” he noted, since kids are out of school for the summer, and some were playing outside as the tornado tore through their neighborhood.

This tornado hit exactly two weeks after an EF2 tornado touched down on Kent Island, carrying 125 mile-per-hour wind and causing even more significant damage.