QUEENSTOWN — Queen Anne’s County Emergency Services are tracking reports of storm damage following a severe weather event in Queenstown Wednesday evening, July 21.
The National Weather Service has not confirmed whether the event was a tornado or not, Scott Haas, Director of Queen Anne’s County Emergency Services said. “Our crew surveying the area feels it was not, but it is up to them to determine.”
Dustin Vitielliss of Nottingham Lane had returned home from his 24-hour firefighter shift in Washington D.C. earlier in the day. He hadn’t seen any weather reports on TV, nor had he read any alerts in the news. Without checking his phone for a forecast, he had no expectations of foul weather.
“I went out to my truck and I just thought it was a wall of white rain,” Vitielliss said.
By the time the storm had completely blanketed the house across the street from Vitiellis, the firefighter was heading inside. Gusts of wind knocked him down on his way to the garage door and scrambling, he corralled his kids into the basement.
“I’ve never felt a storm that strong before,” he said.
When the chaos had passed, just five minutes later, the Vitielliss family’s trampoline, along with another neighbor’s, had been tossed in the air nearly a quarter of a mile across a field and crashed, dismembered and twisted, into a bank of trees; his kids’ play set was demolished; lawn furniture, hefty pieces, Vitielliss added, were anchored to the bottom of his pool; and a homeless cat, suspected of living in the woods, had retreated to the neighborhood’s roundabout for safety.
The cat was fed before animal control was called.
“It was definitely more than a summer shower,” said Richard Hair, one of Vitielliss’ neighbors.
Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department firefighter and former President Lenny Anthony said they received a few calls related to downed tree limbs, but nothing otherwise serious.
“We’ve already been in touch with Maryland Emergency Management and NWS and we will be going out doing damage assessment tomorrow morning,” the county’s public affairs officer, Beth Malasky said.
Initial reports indicated the most serious damage occurred in the area of Warrington Farm Lane near Route 301.