Water­spout forms near Bay Bridge, prompt­ing alarm but no harm

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - MARY­LAND BY MARTIN WEIL martin.weil@wash­post.com

On the heels of Fri­day’s fierce thun­der­storms, na­ture placed another spec­ta­cle be­fore the eyes of the Wash­ing­ton re­gion on Satur­day when a water­spout formed in the Chesapeake Bay near the Bay Bridge.

The sin­u­ous gray col­umn formed be­fore noon and headed to­ward the Eastern Shore, prompt­ing the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice to is­sue a tor­nado warn­ing for parts of the shore.

How­ever, nei­ther a tor­nado touch­down nor any in­jury was re­ported there.

Ac­cord­ing to a Na­tional Weather Ser­vice of­fice in Mount Holly, N.J., the spout was just off shore in the Stevensville area at 11:35 a.m., headed south­east at 20 mph. It was not clear if it crossed the Bay Bridge, but from de­scrip­tions, it was close.

Pho­to­graphs show a gray col­umn that some­times showed a pro­nounced lean, and some­times a kink. Its prin­ci­pal con­se­quence ap­peared to be the awed and amazed re­ac­tion it evoked from many wit­nesses.

“It was cool,” said Shayne Taylor, who got a pic­ture from the bal­cony of his home in Ch­ester, Md., on Kent Is­land. The is­land is on the east side of the Bay Bridge.

Later, as Taylor walked around Kent Is­land, he said he heard the ex­cited com­ments of oth­ers. “I saw it too,” they said. “I saw it too.”

Some­one else posted a few sec­onds of video. The scene was la­beled: “In­sane Wa­ter spout.”

Wit­nesses to the at­mo­spheric spec­ta­cle in­cluded the crowds that flocked to Sandy Point State Park. A photo taken by life­guard Sarah Her­nan­dez showed a gray line, rem­i­nis­cent of a kind of um­bil­i­cal cord, be­tween sea and sky.

It made a show for a crowd at the pop­u­lar bayfront park that reached its vis­i­tor ca­pac­ity at least once Satur­day, re­quir­ing en­try to be sus­pended for a time.

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