"Funnel cloud" causes minor damage at OC
Ocean City officials are reporting only minor damage and no injuries after a windstorm described as a "funnel cloud" swept across the island near 75th street Thursday afternoon.
"There was some damage, but nothing widespread," said Donna Abbott, the spokeswoman for the town. "There is a building here and there with roof damage or some siding damage ... Building inspectors are double-checking some building sin the area."
The most significant damage appeared to be to the roof of a three-story condo building at 75th Steet and the ocean front. The damage is over the elevator shaft, which had to be shut down, limiting access to the top two floors.
"Building inspectors require egress from two areas on a floor," Abbott said. So 11 people on those floors had to be relocated to other units. Repairs are expected to be finished Friday.
"Everything else around town is fine. We're very lucky," Abbott said.
The National Weather Service office in Wakefield, Va. received reports of a "funnel cloud" or a waterspout at mid-afternoon in Ocean City. "We are unable to confirm any tornado damage," said meteorologist Mike Montefusco. "We're going to have to go up and look at it." Or, they could check out this video from Matt Buerhaus.
UPDATE, SEPT. 19: The National Weather Service has confirmed that this was an EF-0 tornado, with top winds of 60 to 70 mph. The path on the surface was 40 yards wide and half a mile long, causing "minor damage" but no injuries. Earlier post resumes below:
Forecasters received reports wind damage to "awnings and marquees" at 75th Street on the ocean front, and elsewhere between 65th and 90th streets.
"We had some ... sightings of a water spout and funnel clouds," he said. But for now, "we're calling it thunderstorm wind damage."
The NWS has posted thunderstorm warnings for the offshore area southeast of Fenwick, Del. around 3:38 p.m. Meteorologist Dan Proch, also at Wakefield, said, "There was a cell that formed over the area very quickly and moved offshore very quickly also."
Were you there? Send us a comment and describe what you saw. Have a photo? Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE, Sept. 19: Diane Burton was there, staying at the Coral Seas, at 76th and the Bay. She sent me this account:
"Our condos suffered a lot of damage. On the rooftop pool deck, the glass panels were shattered as well as panels on other floors that left glass all over the ground. The underneath where the parking is had several pieces of siding thrown with insulation hanging out of it.
"My husband's heavy duty truck with a 6x12 trailer attached to it was lifted off the ground and moved. The sound was like a freight train when it passed and friends watched it go out to sea."
(PHOTOS: Top, Tamara Ivan, from 57th street; Bottom: Unknown photographer, via Ken Burkhammer)