Lucky to be alive: Final report issued on scary, damaging NJ tornadoes
The final report on Thursday's multiple tornadoes and wind events across New Jersey was by the National Weather Service's Mount Holly office.
Five survey teams were sent out to investigate the storms that developed from the four New Jersey tornadoes. A fifth twister at the Montclair Golf Club in Verona was investigated by National Weather Service's New York office.
Twelve tornado warnings issued in New Jersey, six severe thunderstorm warnings and eight flash flood warnings were issued the night of the storms, according to Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow. But the night was not a record breaker.
"Looking at the tracks of those storms, it's clear some New Jerseyans got incredibly lucky last Thursday. Both the powerful Ewing EF-2 tornado and the Woodland Township EF-1 tornado did a ton of tree damage, but cycled and lifted mere feet before hitting more populated areas," Zarrow said.
Five tornadoes in a single calendar day ties for the second most on record (since 1950) here in New Jersey. A total of seven touchdowns were confirmed on Nov. 16, 1989. And five also occurred on March 10, 1964.
With a grand total of eight tornadoes, July 2021 now ties for New Jersey's most active tornado month on record. July 1987 and November 1989 also had eight.
"If nothing else, it was proof positive that tornado outbreaks can and do happen in New Jersey," Zarrow said.
There were no fatalities caused by the tornadoes.
The storms across New Jersey in no particular order:
Windsor-Robbinsville NJ Township Tornado
Peak Wind: 105 mph
The storm developed on Route 130 south of the Windsor section of Robbinsville near the Assunpink Creek around 6:55 p.m. The storm uprooted trees near the Chestnut Montessori, which lost a portion of its roofing material and uprooted several hardwood trees.
Its path continued through fields and tree lines causing more tree damage especially near the intersection of Perrineville Road and Voelbel Road.
New Hope, Pa., to Hopewell Township, N.J. tornado
Peak Wind: 140 mph
This tornado was one of two produced by a supercell in Plumstead Township in Bucks County at 6 p.m. It crossed the Delaware River and went back onto land in the area of Washington Crossing and caused tree damage on River Road. The storm crossed Pleasant Valley Road where the first damage that earned the storm its EF-2 rating was found with numerous large hardwood and softwood trees snapped, sheared, and/or uprooted.
The survey team found a barely passable road to the top of Baldpate Mountain even after crews spent several hours clearing away debris. The most damage was seen on Bear Tavern Road where the storm became undirectional and lifted away near the Trenton Mercer Airport.
Woodland to Wells Mills
Peak Wind: 105 mph
The storm developed around 8:40 p.m. in a wooded area between Stevenson Road and Whiting Road just west of the Burlington County/Ocean County border. After the storm touched down, most of the damage consisted of large snapped and uprooted pine and spruce trees with a few red maple trees. Some of the worst damage occurred on Old Cedar Bridge Road near the Cedar Bridge Tavern Historic Site.
After crossing Route 72 into a remote wooded area it entered Wells Mills County Park at Jones Road where trees were snapped. The storm came to an end inside the park.
High Bar Harbor
Peak Wind: 115-120 mph
The same supercell that produced the Woodland tornado was responsible for this storm, which touched down on the western shore of Barnegat Bay where one building near Bay Beach off Bayshore Drive sustained roofing damage.
The tornado then moved over Barnegat Bay as a waterspout and then came ashore in the area of High Bar Harbor in Long Beach.
The worst damage from this storm was a house at the corner of Antioch Road and Arnold Boulevard that had its roof lifted up and tossed away.
Most of the doors and windows on the east and west sides of the house were completely blown out and there was extensive damage inside the house.
Eight people hid in a closet and suffered minor injuries. A car in the driveway was pushed sideways several feet and their boat flipped into their neighbor's boat. The boat's trailer was thrown 50 feet into another house.
The roofs of about a dozen homes on Arnold Boulevard were damaged by a "significant uplift of roof material, siding damage or removal, collapse of porch, patio, and sunroom structures, and blown out windows."
More houses were damaged on Collier Road and Sunset Boulevard where several utility poles were knocked over. There was damage to several boats at the High Bar Harbor Yacht Club from lofted debris being tossed into the marina.
Silverton Wind Events
A survey team determined damage in the Silverton section of Toms River to trees and an EMS building was caused by straight line wind damage instead of a tornado. "While it cannot be ruled out that a brief tornado touched down, there is insufficient evidence to confirm this," the survey team said.