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1 dead, homes damaged after destructive tornadoes and storms hit three states and a DC suburb


By Adrienne Winston, Steve Almasy and Eric Zerkel, CNN

(CNN) — Damaging storms and tornadoes hit parts of at least three states, including a Washington, DC, suburb Wednesday, killing at least one person and injuring others.

A tornado ripped through the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Michigan, during the afternoon and toppled a tree onto a home, killing a 2-year-old and severely injuring the child’s mother.

“This is a terrible tragedy for our community,” Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan said in a news release. “Our hearts are broken, too, and we send our deepest sympathies.”

The storm that tracked through Livonia tore a 5.5-mile path and was rated an EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with peak winds of 95 mph, according to a preliminary survey from the National Weather Service in Detroit.

Storms intensified as they tracked through West Virginia and Maryland Wednesday evening and produced more than 10 reports of tornadoes in the two states.

A tornado tracking through the Washington, DC, suburb of Gaithersburg, Maryland, trapped five people in a ranch-style home after it collapsed in the storm. One person was taken to a hospital with traumatic injuries, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief David Pazos told CNN.

Two other homes in the densely packed suburb with about 70,000 residents were significantly damaged by trees, according to the fire department’s chief spokesperson Pete Piringer. Several people were removed from damaged structures and transported to hospitals, emergency officials said.

At least seven tornadoes have been confirmed in the Baltimore area, with notable tornadoes in both Montgomery County and Baltimore County receiving EF1 ratings after reaching winds of 105 mph, the National Weather Service said.

A tornado was also seen near Baltimore, in Arbutus, Maryland at around 8:55 p.m. ET, the National Weather Service office there said. Details about what damage that tornado caused, if any, to structures were not immediately available. The US Storm Prediction Center said numerous trees and power lines were down in the area.

In the Sykesville, Maryland, area, there were no immediate reports of injuries but at least 10 structures were damaged, mostly by the high winds, according to fire department spokesperson Bill Rehkopf. One was significantly damaged by a tree.

Survey teams with the National Weather Service are visiting the hard-hit areas to assess the damage to determine how many tornadoes there were and how strong they were.

Weak tornadoes are not uncommon in the DC region, but only a handful in recorded history have been EF3 or stronger. In 2002, an EF4 tornado devastated parts of La Plata, Maryland, south of DC. That storm killed three people and caused more than $100 million in damage, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Tornadoes were also seen in Alabama and Ohio as storms across the country exceeded forecast expectations.

A possible tornado also caused damage in Frazeysburg, Ohio, around 50 miles east of Columbus. Photos show debris littered streets, snapped power poles and some partially collapsed structures.

Nine people were injured, including at least four taken to a nearby hospital, according to CNN affiliate WBNS.

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CNN’s Ritu Prasad, Sara Smart, Sarah Dewberry and Robert Shackleford contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: cnn-weather/environment

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