A tornado warning was issued earlier Monday evening for southern Prince George’s County (between approximately 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.), but it remains an open question whether a tornado actually touched down.
Photo and video evidence indicate at least a rotating wall cloud was observed north of Waldorf. And a funnel cloud was spotted about three miles west of Brandywine by fire department personnel, according to the National Weather Service.
Yet we don’t have conclusive evidence a tornado was on the ground.
Let’s take a closer look at the evidence that suggests a tornado was certainly possible.
First: Here’s a radar animation of the thunderstorm.
It shows a classic hook echo (notice how southern tip of the storm forms a hook just under half through the sequence), which is characteristic of a rotating thunderstorm.
Now, here are three images from Twitter:
— Josh Owens | MWC (@mymdwx) July 1, 2013
— Towners Wx Page (@townerswxpage) July 1, 2013
Here are two photos from the Harry Nice Bridge between Virginia and Maryland from Facebook reader Joshua Sullivan:
And lastly, here’s a video taken of the storm from Rt. 301:
Video posted to YouTube by abert78160
All of this imagery reveals a wall cloud and several of the images show a either a funnel cloud or tail cloud. In all of the pictures, it’s impossible to tell whether any funnel extends all the way to the ground (or in some cases, it’s obvious it does not at the time of the photo capture).
Presumably, the National Weather Service will survey the area for damage and will make a conclusive determination.
For now, we can just speculate.