5 tornadoes confirmed in New Jersey from Thursday storms
Five tornadoes have been confirmed so far in New Jersey and a strong one just across the river in Bucks County that destroyed a building at a car dealership on Thursday.
Four areas of interest were being investigated by the National Weather Service's Mount Holly office on Friday for possible tornadoes: Hopewell and Trenton areas, the Lakehurst area, the Barnegat Township and Harvey Cedars area in Ocean County, and the Willingboro and Mount Holly region of Burlington County.
The most violent storm was an EF-3 tornado with top winds of 140 mph in Bensalem, Pennsylvania destroyed a building and injured four people at Faulkner Cadillac on Street Road not far from the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“I have been doing this for 34 years, I haven’t seen that sort of devastation from a storm,” Bensalem Police Public Safety Director Fred Harran said.
The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado with winds of up to 90 mph touched down in Plumstead in Bucks County and an EF-2 with winds of up to 115 mph began in New Hope, Pennsylvania, before crossing the Delaware River into Mercer County. Weather officials also confirmed an EF-1 in the Robbinsville area — no windspeeds were provided in a brief update early Friday evening.
A tornado in the Waretown section of Ocean Township was one of two tornadoes confirmed in Ocean County. It was upgraded to an EF-2 with peak winds of 115 mph after damage was found in the Barnegat Light section of Long Beach Island.
Wells Mills County Park in Waretown was closed until at least Monday because of snapped trees and damaged playground equipment, according to Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy. Other damaged areas include the area of the Cedar Bridge Tavern Historic Site in Barnegat Township, the dock area of Barnegat Township and the area of Arnold Avenue.
Long Beach Township police said more than 35 houses were damaged on Antioch Road, Arnold Boulevard, Collier Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. Fifteen houses suffered extensive damage and multiple boats were damaged, according to police. Five utility poles were also replaced because of damage.
Mastronardy said his office was assisting the National Weather Service with their investigation by checking damage and video taken by a drone.
A second tornado was confirmed in Ocean County in the Cedar Bridge area with winds of 100-105 mph.
The National Weather Service's New York City office, which covers northern New Jersey, confirmed an EF-0 tornado that touched down at the Montclair Golf Club in Verona just before 6 p.m.
"I recall a fairly unimpressive tornado signature on radar, and max winds were "only" estimated at 65 mph. On the ground for three minutes, but still enough to knock down three trees, 10-20 large limbs, and total a house," New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said.
Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Wilmont said Office of Emergency coordinators reported trees down in Hopewell Valley and some roof damage and about 2,500 PSE&G customers on Thursday night in the area of Route 29. About 50 customers still had no power as of 3 p.m. Friday, according to Wilmont.
A roof membrane was torn off a child care center in Robbinsville but was deemed structurally safe by the construction official. FirstJersey.news reported the owner was inside at the time but was not injured.
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