Brief tornado confirmed near Hazlet NJ during Friday’s storms
Fueled by increasingly hot, humid weather, Friday afternoon's thunderstorms became quite dramatic over parts of the Garden State.
Hail up to the size of tennis balls (2.5" diameter) was reported in Cherry Hill, Camden County and Shamong, Burlington County.
And now, following a storm survey on Saturday, the National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Monmouth County just after 5 p.m. on Friday. It was on the ground for only one minute and 0.8 miles. The twister crossed the Garden State Parkway, from west to east, just south of exit 117. (No damage to vehicle or the roadway has been reported.)
The storm was rated EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita (EF-) scale, with swirling wind gusts estimated up to 85 mph.
Damage was reported on both sides of the Parkway, among residential areas in the Strathmore section of Aberdeen Township and in Hazlet Township. The official report determined "At least a dozen homes in this area sustained cosmetic damage, including vinyl siding blown off, soffit damage, gutter damage, and/or roof shingles blown off." Numerous tree limbs and power lines fell as well.
The tornado lifted before reaching the Route 35 corridor in Hazlet, although straight-line wind damage knocked over power poles in that area.
Although a tornado watch was in effect for most of NJ at the time, no tornado warning was issued at any time. (Likely because the spin-up was so brief and relatively weak.) A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for part of Monmouth County about 10 minutes after the tornado.
This is New Jersey's first confirmed tornado since the remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped three on September 1, 2021. (Including the destructive EF-3 rated storm in Mullica Hill, Gloucester County.)
Tornadoes are rare in New Jersey — on average, the state experiences two to three confirmed tornadoes a year. The past few years have been considerably above average, with 13 tornadoes recorded in 2021 and 10 in 2019.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.