NWS: Three Tornadoes Confirmed Last Tuesday, Stronger Than Previously Thought

The National Weather Service has confirmed that three tornadoes touched down in Delaware last Tuesday.

Tornado 1

The tornado touched down in the vicinity of the Eagle Meadows Apartment Homes on Sorghum Mill Road in Kent County then moved across Route 10. It tracked nearly parallel to South State Street through Anneville, the south side of Dover, where significant tree damage occurred, including some treetops shredded from Poplar Lane to the neighborhood around Steele Road. It was here where some roof damage occurred to some homes especially due to fallen trees, however, a garage was significantly damaged on Dyers Tree Farm.

The tornado then crossed over Route 13 near the Eden Medical Center and very near the William Henry Middle School. A couple of sections of the school’s roof were blown off along with some tree damage nearby. A warehouse adjacent to the school had a few sections of its metal walls torn off and a couple of tractor-trailer trailers flipped onto their side. The tornado then crossed over Walker Road at Route 15 then to Westminster Village at Dover near the intersection of Route 15 and College Road. The tornado continued northward just east of Cheswold where the tornado may have lifted for a time with discontinuous tree damage before moving through the east side of Smyrna where more notable tree damage occurred. A 96 mph wind gust was measured at a Delaware Department of Transportation weather station located on Route 1 just north of Smyrna as the tornadic circulation passed by. From here, the tornado continued nearly parallel to Routes 1 and 13 on the east sides of Townsend and Middletown in New Castle County. Numerous trees were snapped or uprooted along portions of Blackbird Landing Road and Gum Bush Road in Townsend with some damage to roofs. A garage at a residence on Blackbird Landing Road was destroyed. The tornado then damaged homes in Middletown along Spring Hollow Drive. In this neighborhood, some homes had roof material and siding blown off with numerous trees uprooted.

Several garage doors were blown out and one home had an entire sidewall blown off. One picture showed a home with a missing exterior corner walls on the second story.
The tornado continued north northwest to the Summit Bridge area just south of the C and D canal. It is here where substantial damage occurred to several homes, including one home that had more than half of its roof completely torn off with a neighboring home losing several sections of their roof. Some other homes lost a portion of their roof and siding was torn off with a garage door
blown in, along with several trees down or snapped. The tornado crossed the canal and tracked near Lums Pond and through an adjacent wooded area where pictures and areal footage showed a Clear path with numerous trees down. The tornado then crossed Route 896 and into the Brennan Estates where hundreds of trees were down or uprooted and around a dozen homes sustained enough damage that they were declared as uninhabitable. The tornado then looked to have lifted prior to crossing over into Cecil County Maryland.

Based on the damage to the homes in the Middletown to Summit Bridge to Brennan Estates areas especially (some non-tree related damage), the rating of this tornado was increased to 115 mph which is equivalent to an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Doppler radar data showed a continuous and well defined rotational signature and also a tornado debris signature.

This tornado path length set a new record in Delaware, greatly surpassing the previous tornado path length record of 13 miles which occurred in 1988.

Tornado 2

The tornado touched down in the vicinity of Road 258 south of Sandtown Road, then tracked across a section of mostly open fields but damaged some trees along the way. It then tracked down the western portion of Sandtown Road closer to Route 10 damaging several homes and snapping and uprooting several trees.

A home had some windows blown out along with roof damage, another home had its roof blown off and there was a large garage that had its back sheet metal wall torn off. The tornado crossed Route 10 near the intersection with Sandtown Road and moved across the Sandtown Landfill facility where additional trees were uprooted or snapped, two front-end loaders had windows blown out and some truck trailers were flipped over.

The tornado exited the landfill and may have dissipated before reaching the Maryland-Delaware state line. Doppler radar data showed rotation and a notable tornado debris signature near and just northwest of Sandtown as debris was tossed into the air. Special thanks is extended to the staff at the Country Cupboard store in Sandtown, Kent County Emergency Management and 911 Center staff for their assistance with this survey.

Tornado 3

A tornado touched down in the Evergreen and Meadow Brook Lanes area of southwest Milford (Sussex County) around 8:25 AM on August 4. There was extensive tree damage from Meadow Brook and Evergreen lanes north to Haven Lake then across the lake to North Shore Drive in Kent County.

Numerous trees were uprooted and snapped along the path of the tornado, with several trees falling onto homes. The tornado turned more northwest and crossed Williamsville Road producing additional tree damage, then lifted before it reached Milford Harrington Highway.

Due to the extensive tree damage, power lines and some poles were also down along portions of the tornado’s path. Several of the trees were of softwood and snapped at their trunks, which is indicative of 100 mph winds and this was used to rate this tornado.

This wind speed corresponds to an EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Doppler radar data showed a well-defined tornado debris signature that quickly developed on the west and northwest side of Milford as the circulation moved through.