In Dover, the worst damage seems to have been in one residential area.
The area along Merion Road in Fox Hall seems to have suffered the most from the effects of the storms that rumbled through Kent County last night.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service center in Mt. Holly, N.J., said while there were no tornadoes reported in Kent County, a series of severe thunderstorms were tracked passing through the area.
The Weather Service reported there appeared to have been tornadic activity in Sussex County, however.
In Dover, the morning of April 15 saw Merion Road residents cleaning up broken branches and overturned garbage bins throughout their neighborhood. Twigs and small branches that had broken off trees and had been flung through the air littered the residential street.
Lloyd Schmid said a backyard tree falling on his home shook the building.
“It was at about 3 a.m. and my wife was downstairs,” he said. “She said she heard this huge roaring sound.
“I heard a big noise and my bed was moving sideways. She told me that something had landed on the house.”
What actually was two trees toppled over, with one ending up draped across the second-story roof, the other landing alongside the house but damaging an enclosed patio.
The trees stood right alongside a chain link fence surrounding the back yard of the neighboring Kiesel family. The wind ripped up a gazebo next to the damaged fence and flipped over a canopied garden swing set in the front yard.
The worst damage, however, occurred a few doors down at the home of Josh Boris, when a large tree in the back yard cracked and splintered, leaving nothing but a 20-foot shaft sticking out of the ground. The remainder fell onto his two-story home, breaking through the roof of his son’s bedroom.
“I don’t know what came through here, but it was something,” Boris said while examining the damage.
It appears one end of the top floor at the rear of the home is severely damaged, Boris said.
“There used to be a chimney there, but I don’t know where it is now,” he said.
Boris was startled when his son suddenly cried out, yelling for help during the storm.
He ran into his son’s room to find the wall and ceiling had been split open and a window, its glass shattered, partially pushed out of its mounts.
Boris surveyed the damage early Monday as a neighbor strung extension cords from his own home to supply power.
The family has homeowner’s insurance, so he anticipates being able to have the fallen tree soon cut away from his roof and a tarp put up to prevent further damage until repairs are made.
The family has lived on Marion Road for about five years now, and Boris said he always wanted to have that tree removed.
“But not like this,” he said.
Trent Davis of the National Weather Service said severe thunderstorm warnings had been posted for Kent County overnight. He estimates winds during the nighttime hours reached about 58 mph, which meets the criteria for a severe storm.
But there was some good news.
“We didn’t see any indications of tornadoes in Kent County,” Davis said. “There were some very strong squalls that went through the entire state, but we didn’t see the rotation needed for tornadoes in your area.”
Severe squalls actually can be more damaging than tornadoes, as they are spread out over a wider area than that of a tornado, he said.
Meantime, weather experts will be examining data from Sussex to determine if there actually was a tornado in the area between Laurel and Georgetown, he said.
“We did have a tornado warning for that area, and we’ve been getting reports of trees down,” he said.
Kent County Director of Emergency Management Colin Faulkner said the only other reported incident was in Milford, where a fallen tree went through a bathroom and child’s bedroom. There were no serious injuries reported there, he said.
“The important thing is there doesn’t appear to have been any major damage or injuries,” he said, although there were sporadic reports of electrical outages caused by downed wires.
But that could change.
“When people get up in the morning and start looking around, they may find something but they don’t report it to us, they just let their insurance company take care of it,” Faulkner said.