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Tornado reported in county

June 16, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Rain briefly pounded Washington County Tuesday afternoon and the storm was accompanied by strong winds. There were reports of a damaging tornado in the Boonsboro area.

Calvin Meadows, a hydro-meterological technician for the National Weather Service, said the weather service received reports of a tornado in the Benevola/Boonsboro area Tuesday at about 4:30 p.m. He said the report could not be confirmed until a survey to determine its legitimacy was completed.

Although Tuesday's storm blew through more quickly than the one that passed through the area Monday, the number of residents without power was more than double.

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Just more than half an inch of rain fell on the Hagerstown area, all during the 4 p.m. hour, according to the I4 Weather Web site, managed by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer. While that was more than an inch less than Monday's total, winds reached about 36 mph Tuesday, 15 miles per hour more than the top speed recorded during Monday's storm, the site said.

Boonsboro weather observer Barbara Snook said wind gusts reached at least 60 mph in the town, leaving tree branches and small limbs on the ground. Snook said Shafer Memorial Park was the area hit hardest.

"There's trees uprooted there," Snook said. "It pulled them right out of the ground."

Allegheny Energy Spokeswoman Janice Lantz said that at one point, about 1,200 customers were without power in areas including Fairplay, Hancock, Smithsburg, Williamsport and Boonsboro.

Lantz said power to 1,000 of the residences was restored by 9:30 p.m. She said most of those remaining were scheduled to have power back by early today.

She said the outages were caused by tree branches, knocked down by the wind hitting power lines.

The Hagerstown Police Department, Maryland State Police and Washington County Sheriff's Department said the rain caused few crashes or flooding conditions. Each said Monday's downpour caused far more problems on area roads.

In the Middletown, Md., area, lightning struck a residence at 4423 Valley View Road at about 5:48 p.m., a Frederick County 911 dispatcher said. Fire officials at the scene could not be reached for comment on the incident.

The dispatcher also said a 7-year-old child swept away by flood waters in the Thurmont, Md., during Monday's storm did not suffer serious injuries. He said the boy was taken to Washington County Hospital as a precautionary measure.

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