The National Weather Service has confirmed seven tornadoes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey during Thursday's storm, including the EF-3 storm in eastern Pennsylvania and an EF-2 tornado that started in the Keystone State and then moved into the Garden State.
Authorities in Bucks County said the EF-3 tornado that contained top winds of 140 mph when it struck Bensalem, damaging an auto dealership and a mobile home park. The city's public safety director said four people were injured at the dealership and one at a nearby business, but all injuries were considered non-life-threatening.
The National Weather Service had issued several Tornado Watches and Warnings throughout the day as the thunderstorm system progressed through the region. At one point, the apparent tornadic activity was so serious that the National Weather Service considered declaring a Tornado Emergency, according to a report. A Tornado Emergency is an "exceedingly rare tornado warning" that forecasters reserve for when "there is a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from an imminent or ongoing tornado," according to the NWS definition.
Earlier this month, Tropical Storm Elsa triggered a pair of tornadoes in southern New Jersey.
Confirmed Tornadoes in New Jersey
Survey teams from the Mount Holly, New Jersey, office of the NWS confirmed two tornadoes in Mercer County and two in Ocean County. Separately, the New York NWS office confirmed a fifth tornado in Essex County.
Survey teams continue to examine the damage and haven't yet issued final reports as of early Friday evening.
Here is some preliminary information regarding the confirmed tornadoes in New Jersey, as released by the NWS.
- An EF2 tornado with peak winds up to 115 mph caused damage from Waretown to Long Beach Township. The worst damage was found in the High Bar Harbor neighborhood of Long Beach Island.
- An EF1 tornado with peak winds of 100 to 105 mph caused damage in the Cedar Bridge area of Barnegat Township.
- An EF1 tornado with peak winds up to 105 mph touched down in Windsor.
- An EF2 tornado with peak winds up to 115 mph began in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and then crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey.
- A brief EF0 tornado with peak winds of 65 mph caused damage, including knocking down 10 to 20 tree limbs, in Verona.
"The tornado likely touched down inside the Montclair Golf Club as it approached the eastern end of Hathaway Lane where it knocked down a large oak tree," an NWS damage report said. "A tree fell on a house on Sylvan Road and was likely totaled as it was knocked off its foundation. The tornado likely quickly dissipated as it moved into the northeast portion of the Verona Park."
Confirmed Tornadoes in Pennsylvania
The NWS confirmed that several tornadoes hit parts of Bucks County and Philadelphia.
Tornado Intensity and Rating
The National Weather Service uses the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale to assign a tornado a so-called rating based on estimated wind speeds and related damage. EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes are considered "weak" in terms of intensity. An EF2 is considered "strong."
An EF-0 tornado has 65-mph to 85-mph wind gusts. An EF-1 produces wind gusts between 86 mph and 110 mph. And 111-mph to 135-mph wind gusts are characteristic of an EF-2.
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With the Associated Press.