Homes wrecked as Long Beach Island bears brunt of storm; 4 tornados confirmed in NJ

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Saturday, July 31, 2021
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Powerful storms tore through parts of New Jersey Thursday night, carving a path of destruction with Long Beach Island seeing significant damage.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Powerful storms tore through parts of New Jersey Thursday night, carving a path of destruction with Long Beach Island seeing the most significant damage.

There were a total of 9 confirmed tornadoes between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The 9th tornado was confirmed Saturday by the National Weather Service (NWS) to have touched down in Slatington, Pennsylvania (Lehigh County) and was rated an EF0 with peak winds up to 85 mph.

The NWS confirmed that an EF2 tornado with peak winds of 115 mph traveled from Waretown to Barnegat Light.

Roofs were blown off multiple homes by strong winds in the High Bar Harbor section, with at least 35 homes damaged -- some of them now unlivable.

Trees and wires were knocked down, and boats and other debris were strewn across Antioch Road, Arnold Boulevard, Collier Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.

VIDEO | Lee and Brittany explain why the tornado outbreak happened:

The NWS confirmed a second EF1 tornado in Cedar Bridge, directly across from LBI, with winds of 100-105 mph.

Three residents in the area were treated for lacerations, and several others were evacuated and taken to the Barnegat Light Firehouse for shelter.

Dozens were without power.

The survey team was one of five that fanned out across the area covered by the NWS's Mount Holly office, which includes New Jersey and Pennsylvania. One team also went to Delaware to survey damage there.

An EF1 tornado was also confirmed later Friday evening in Windsor in Mercer County, New Jersey.

An EF0 tornado was confirmed to have touched down in Verona, knocking a tree onto a house and three trees on the Montclair Golf Club.

The giant ancient Oak tree toppled onto the house and pulled down all the cables it could grab.

"I mean, look at the size of it, and the resistance with the wind, you know, it just blew right over," area resident Paul Fess said. "And you think it's a good healthy tree, but you don't know when these trees are going to go down."

Other tornadoes may have also touched down in Ocean and Burlington counties.

A funnel cloud later confirmed to be an EF3 tornado touched down in Bensalem and Trevose in Pennsylvania, ripping the roof off a car dealership.

Images from Bucks County showed a path of destruction, where cars were seen flipped in parking lots.

The tornado had peak winds up to 140 mph, with the most intense damage occurred to the car dealerships and an adjacent mobile home park.

The other confirmed tornadoes in Pennsylvania include an EF0 in Northeast Philadelphia, an EF1 in the Plumstead Township area near Bucks County and an EF2 near New Hope.

Police said five people were injured in the storms, but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

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New Jersey's last EF2 was on July 29, 2009 in Sussex County. Before that, it was on May 27, 2001, in Monmouth County.

"So, certainly these are not all that common in New Jersey," State Climatologist David Robinson said.

The state's record for tornadoes in one day was seven on Nov. 16, 1989, part of a record year of 17. There were 10 tornados in 2019, the second most active year.

There have been six tornadoes so far this year, including the three confirmed Friday - all of them occurring in July.

Robinson, a Rutgers University professor, says "yesterday was certainly an active day, and let's not forget about the EF3 in Bucks County. Unusual in the number of touchdowns and the strengths of several."

ALSO READ | Weather or Not: Lee's extreme weather survival guide

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