NJ town’s 2nd tornado this year uproots and snaps trees in half
MOUNT LAUREL — A tornado that touched down in Burlington County on Thursday night was New Jersey's fifth of the year and the second just in this municipality.
The tornado, with winds of up to 90 mph, uprooted entire trees and snapped other trees like toothpicks.
A National Weather Service survey team described it as a "brief and discontinuous" twister about 7:20 p.m., traveling on the ground for 1.3 miles in the Ramblewood and Birchwood neighborhoods.
The area is less than a mile from where a tornado touched down on Saturday and overturned a parked car.
The Thursday night tornado's path began at the Ramblewood golf course and went into a wooded area, according to the NWS's survey team. When it emerged out the other side, it snapped a hardwood tree, which fell onto a house, and caused "considerable damage" to several other trees around Yorktowne Drive.
Once in the Birchfield neighborhood, several trees were uprooted and a pine tree snapped about 10 feet off the ground near Viburnum Lane and Sumac Court.
Several more smaller trees were uprooted and some branches from hardwood trees were brought down, according to the survey team, who said gutters on a few apartment buildings were damaged.
The survey team said the tornado crossed a small lake and snapped another hardwood tree near Marigold Court and Lake Drive. The winds uprooted more trees before the tornado finally lifted at Meadowrue Drive.
New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the active season is not indicative of anything except a warm, wet spring and summer, which he said makes for an "explosive atmosphere."
Thursday's Mount Laurel tornado was an EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. Saturday's weaker tornado was a zero.
"Is there a scientific reason for two tornadoes to happen in basically the same spot, just a few days apart? I don't think so, just an eerie coincidence," Zarrow said.
State Climatologist Dave Robinson said that the tornadoes this year have not been remarkable, historically speaking.
"Were it to stay in the four or five six or seven range (number of tornadoes this year), I would chalk it up to an active year but nothing all that unusual. There's really no rhyme or reason, certainly no trend, in tornadic activity in New Jersey."
New Jersey's other reported tornadoes this year were in Stanhope, Mullica Hill and a waterspout off Fortescue in the Delaware Bay.
The last year New Jersey had 5 or more tornadoes was 2003 (7), according to Zarrow.Before that, 1995 with five.