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National Weather Service says F2 tornado hit Sussex County

Laurel Fire Department
An aerial view of damage caused by Monday's tornado in the Laurel area

It was a tornado that caused damage in parts of Southern Sussex County early Monday morning.

The National Weather Service confirms an F2 tornado traveled more than 6 miles through the towns of Laurel and Bethel. 

Officials say it carried an estimated maximum wind speed of 120 mph.  They add for most of its path the funnel was about 50 yards wide but at one point reached 400 yards in width.

The Laurel Fire Department was alerted at about quarter to 4 a.m. to the first of about 15 alarms resulting from the twister.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Lowe says his department dealt with car accidents, fallen trees, downed power lines and people trapped in homes damaged by the tornado.

“Several state agencies came together, worked very well together and we were fortunate to wrap things up with no more threats to life than what we had,” said Lowe.

Lowe notes only one individual was injured during the storm and was treated for minor injuries at Nanticoke Hospital.

Several residences in Laurel sustained damage from the tornado and one barn was destroyed. The Red Cross is currently managing a comfort station at the Laurel Fire Hall.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Alex Staarmann says tornadoes are not out of the ordinary in the region this time of year.

“It’s fairly typical to receive about one to two tornadoes across the Delmarva area each year and typically they’re on the weaker end of the scale,” said Staarmann.

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