Storms sweep through area

June 07, 2002|by KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Reports of funnel clouds near Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Frederick County, Md., reached The National Weather Service Thursday afternoon but there was no confirmation and no reports of significant damage in those areas.

Dispatchers in Jefferson County, W.Va., said they had no reports of serious storm damage Thursday in the Shepherdstown area although some trees were felled in and around Charles Town. There were no calls about a tornado touching down.

A Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Co. spokesman also said the company had not received any information about a funnel cloud.

In Frederick County, Md., the storm produced two calls, but nothing that would indicate tornado activity, a dispatcher said.

Jim Wiesmueller at the National Weather Service office in Sterling, Va., said his agency will only confirm a tornado has touched down if there is evidence of twisting damage.


Washington County was briefly under a tornado warning Thursday afternoon but there were no reports of funnel clouds.

For the second straight day, parts of the Tri-State area fell victim to stormy weather but Wiesmueller said he believed the weather pattern that spawned the storms was moving out.

Some people were still cleaning up from Wednesday's storm.

Geary Hoover's new sign advertising his vacuum cleaner business was hanging outside his store in the South End Shopping Center when he closed around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Less than 30 minutes later, it was gone. The sign and a 20-foot portion of a roof overhang at the Vacuum Cleaner Outlet were blown off during Wednesday's heavy rain, high winds and hail.

"We can't find the roof. We've looked for it everywhere," said Hoover, who moved his business to the shopping center four months ago.

The storm brought down dozens of trees and power lines across the county and sent a cement-block wall crashing onto a car in a downtown Hagerstown parking lot.

Looking to the rear of his business, Hoover said he could see a path of broken limbs the storm made as it passed through the woods to the shopping center. None of his merchandise was damaged, he said.

Whole trees and giant limbs broke away in the high winds and landed on power lines, emergency services and fire department officials said.

Several Allegheny Power poles snapped throughout the county causing 1,500 residents to lose power Wednesday. Power was fully restored by 2 p.m. Thursday, according to spokesman Guy Fletcher.

"Storms this time of year can be a nightmare," Fletcher said.

There were reports of damage Wednesday in parts of Washington County and Pennsylvania and in Winchester, Va., and Inwood, W.Va., a utility company spokeswoman said.

Hagerstown had six workers out cleaning up branches and debris from the storm, said Eric Deike, manager of public works for the city.

A traffic signal at Magnolia Avenue was destroyed when a tree limb fell on it, he said.

Deike said the most damage was in the North End because of its large concentration of trees. Each of the city's parks had some damage as well, he said.

Weather service meteorologist Jim DeCarufel said a cold front moving east from Ohio was expected to pass through Washington County Thursday.

The weather service predicted clear skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s through the weekend.

In Hagerstown, nearly three-quarters of an inch of rain was recorded Thursday, bringing the June total to 1.41 inches, according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

About two-thirds of an inch of rain fell in portions of Washington County Wednesday, DeCarufel said.

Allegheny Power workers were on standby Thursday in case of a repeat of Wednesday's outages, Fletcher said.

"We'll see what Mother Nature has in store for us," he said.

Staff writers Dave McMillion and Marlo Barnhart contributed to this story.

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