The National Weather Service says damage to two houses and several barns and sheds in Ellicott earlier this week was caused by a high-wind phenomenon known as a downburst -- not a tornado.
Authorities say some residents suffered bumps and bruises when a powerful thunderstorm swept across the area Monday, nearly destroying a mobile home and blowing part of a roof onto a house.
Weather service spokesman James Hall says a survey indicated the debris was lying in a pattern indicating damage caused by a downburst, which is a powerful gust of wind that suddenly rushes down out of a thunderstorm, strikes the earth and spreads quickly out across the ground.
The weather service says sustained winds of about 64 miles per hour were recorded at Bullseye Airport southwest of Ellicott.
A trained observer did report a tornado six miles north of Ellicott about four p.m. Monday, about when residents reported the storm hitting.
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