A waterspout came ashore as a tornado across Smith Island, Md., around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, reportedly destroying two homes and damaging other houses and boats, according to witness accounts.
The Chesapeake Bay island community of around 200 residents, many of them watermen, was passed by multiple waterspouts during the storm, Ewell Fire Department president Robert Jones told Chesapeake Bay Magazine.
“Some minor injuries but overall nobody is badly hurt. I would have never imagined this to happen here.”
Photographer Jay Fleming, a National Fisherman contributor, frequently holds photography workshops on the island, staying at the “Island Time” guesthouse. That house was significantly damaged with its third floor wrecked, said Fleming.
“Doris Lee Bradshaw lived adjacent to ‘Island Time’ and her home was completely destroyed,” Fleming says. Fleming started a GoFundMe page to raise funds and help residents repair the damage. By Monday afternoon, Fleming reported the fund was passing $100,000 in donations.
Island residents had little warning. The National Weather Service had issued a special weather statement for the bay advising of 45 mph winds and a thunderstorm over Tangier Island.
The twisters were spawned in an evening of thunderstorms and gusty winds across the Chesapeake region. In Washington, D.C., two people died after a lightning strike in Lafayette Park near the White House.