The small tornado in Dagsboro was the third in Delaware this year

John Mitchell struggled to hold on to his front door as he looked out into the pouring rain Monday afternoon on Adams Road in Dagsboro.

Meanwhile, a tornado was passing through his backyard. The EF0 tornado touched down for three minutes in the Piney Neck area of ​​the southern Sussex County town on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

No injuries were reported.

The storm began along Adams Road, where Mitchell lives, at 2:55 p.m., and likely ended a short distance to the east three minutes later, near Penny Neck Road and Wild Goose Way, the weather service said in a statement. The tornado traveled about 0.7 miles and had a maximum width of 370 yards, the release said.

Estimated maximum wind speed was about 85 mph.

Mitchell and his neighbor Sally Bradshaw have cottages next to each other in their backyards, across from a wood line. Both suffered partial roof and wall collapse. The door to Mitchell’s shed blew off and slid off its foundation as well. A trailer exploded against another shed in his backyard.

Some of Mitchell’s windows were blown out of his home, while Bradshaw’s had some of the shingles and gutters blown out. Numerous trees on Adams Road were damaged and several were uprooted.

“We had two big dead trees in the backyard,” Mitchell said. “They disappeared.”

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The only damage on Penny Neck Road was a tree uprooted from the yard of a home near Wild Goose Road, according to the National Weather Service.

The Ducksboro tornado marks the third known tornado in Delaware this year. An EF1 tornado struck north of Middletown, in the Bullen Drive area, on July 9, while an EF3 tornado tore 14 miles into northern Sussex County on April 1, killing one man and destroying or damaging more than 60 homes.

How are hurricanes measured?

The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes as follows:

  • EF0: Winds are weak, 65 to 85 mph.
  • EF1: Weak winds, 86 to 110 mph.
  • EF2: Strong winds ranging from 111 to 135 mph.
  • EF3: Strong winds ranging from 136 to 165 mph.
  • EF4: Violent winds, 166 to 200 mph.
  • EF5: Violent winds exceeding 200 mph.

Tornado frequency in Delaware

Dean Eveno, of the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, told Delaware Online/The News Journal in July that Delaware “generally sees one or two weak tornadoes” each year, and more violent tornadoes occasionally occur.

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Although it may seem as if Delaware is seeing more frequent tornadoes, that’s not necessarily true, according to Eveno. Better technology and increased sophistication have led to more tornadoes being reported, he said.

None of the tornadoes that struck Delaware this year were accompanied by emergency alert system warnings. The lack of warning in Sussex County was due to a technical glitch that prevented radio emergency alerts from being broadcast to cell phones in the area. However, when talking about the Middletown tornado, Iovino said tornadoes often form without warning, making alerts impossible.

“If you have a severe thunderstorm warning, there is a possibility of a tornado,” he added.

Shannon Marvel McNutt reports from Sussex and beyond. Contact her at or on Twitter @MarvelMcNaught

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