Tornadoes touch down in the DMV

On Feb. 7, five tornadoes touched down near Maryland in Loudoun County, Fredrick County, Montgomery County, and Carroll County. These tornados were centered in Leesburg, Dickerson, Boyds, Westminster, and Monrovia. 

The National Weather Service warned of severe thunderstorms, but even as tornado warnings followed, many were not aware of the severity of the situation. The 105 mph wind speeds made trees and branches fly, causing damage to several properties. 

Sadly, this disaster affected several people in our SJC community. One of those people is Madalyn Engel ’22, who lives in Monrovia, where the most intense path of the tornado was located.

“When the tornado hit, my sisters, mom, and I had already left for school/work because it hit at about 7:45 am. My dad woke up to a sound he described as a freight train. My parents’ bedroom is on the bottom floor, with a window looking out at our backyard, which is where the tornado hit. He told me he woke up looked outside and saw trees crashing down and random things being sucked up and away into the sky.”

Engel did not find out about the tornado until she got off the Metro after school. She was waiting for her mom to pick her up when she saw photos of the damage on social media. Her parents were devastated, and “it looked like a completely different neighborhood.” Engel said that this storm caused power outages in her neighborhood and in other ones as well. People were displaced and had to go stay with family as the weather ripped roofs off of houses. 

She said she found this to be an eye-opener and a miracle, because the tornado could’ve done more far more damage. “My dad was asleep 50 feet away, and the tornado was two feet away from two propane tanks. If the tornado had hit these propane tanks, my entire house would have exploded with my dad in it,” Engel said. The tornado went directly through her backyard and took down hundreds of trees along her family’s two acres of property. Her property fences were destroyed and so was her pool, but luckily her home stayed intact. 

If you would like to help the Engels cover the costs of cleanup and recovery, please click here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/angels-for-the-engels. For more information on the tornados, visit: https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/weather/2020/02/07/possible-tornado- damage-reported-maryland/4690402002/

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