Videos posted to social media hear nearby residents watching in horror as the twister slams into the homes, sending detritus flying into the air.
The waterspout hit Smith Island, which sits in the Chesapeake Bay on the border with Virginia and is home to a small community.
The waterspout can be seen whipping up water as it skates over the bay, its long and thin cone descending from a dark cloud.
Pictures in the aftermath show some buildings completely destroyed, with debris scattered in every direction.
The Independent has reached out to the Somerset County Sheriff’s office to inquire if there have been any injuries.
Waterspouts are tornado-like formations that hit the water. Two types of waterspouts are possible: tornadic and fair-weather, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Significant damage on Smith Island - these pictures were taken by Tiffanie Woutila. Somerset county sheriff confirms that a waterspout came ashore and cut across the island as a tornado. #mdwx pic.twitter.com/7vborIG9sQ
— Rich Wirdzek (@RichWirdzekWx) August 5, 2022
In a tornadic waterspout, the winds will form a cone in conjunction with a thunderstorm, and move similarly to a tornado over land, the agency says. Notably, waterspouts can also form in calm weather, as winds work their way up from the surface of the water to form a cone, and don’t usually move all that much.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said on Thursday night that more than 50,000 people were without power as a result of the storms that blew through. Intense storms hit much of the state yesterday as a storm cell rolled through the mid-Atlantic.
Over 20,000 customers were still without power on Friday morning, many in the Baltimore area, according to poweroutage.us.
The storms also caused four people to be struck by lightning outside the White House in Washington, DC. Two of the victims have died.
Thunderstorms are expected to hit the area again on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
The relationship between tornadoes and the climate crisis is still up for debate among scientists — but many extreme weather events, including storms, are getting more intense as the planet heats up.