Tornado in NJ destroys houses during severe storm on Wednesday
UPDATE: Gov. Murphy declares state of emergency in New Jersey
Take those tornado alerts seriously.
A tornado that Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said could safely be described as "massive" touched down in Gloucester County on Wednesday evening, tearing apart several homes in Mullica Hill.
At 6:22 p.m., radar confirmed a tornado over Mullica Hill in Harrison Township. Several people captured photos of the menacing funnel cloud.
An NBC 10 Philadelphia reporter on the scene at Josephine and Marvin lanes said that about nine homes were seriously damaged but all residents were accounted for.
The National Weather Service issued tornado watches and warnings for much of New Jersey as the storm, the remnants of Hurricane Ida, rolled from Pennsylvania.
Several possible tornadoes were reported in New Jersey as the storm moved northeast, stranding drivers as flash floods blocked interstates and local roads.
Because of the flooding, schools were closed for Thursday in East Amwell while Hunterdon Central Regional High School canceled its first day due to flooding.
At just after 7 p.m., a "large and destructive tornado" was spotted in Beverly, traveling at 40 mph toward Trenton, 12 miles to the northeast, the NWS said.
In addition to the houses destroyed by the storm, winds in the Mullica Hill area brought down numerous trees on Cedar Road.
Damage, possibly from a tornado, also was reported near Route 130 in Willingboro and Edgewater Park.
A tornado was also suspected in Lawrenceville, which saw numerous trees and utility wires brought down just before 7:30 p.m. Officials, meanwhile, were reporting numerous water rescues across Mercer County.
Tornado winds can cause serious and life-threatening damage with flying debris and battering against cars, mobile homes, roofs and windows.
The NWS tornado warnings included locations as far from Trenton as Carteret, New Brunswick and South Plainfield.
Heavy flooding across New Jersey
Much of the state also was under flash flood and thunderstorm warnings. More than 8 inches of rain had fallen by Wednesday night in Burlington, Mercer and Middlesex counties, Zarrow said.
Flooding closed Route 202/206 at the Somerville Circle and Route 78 in both directions in Bedminster.
There was significant flooding in Lambertville.
Power outages in New Jersey
Just before 8:30 p.m., JCP&L was reporting about 32,000 customers without power while PSE&G was reporting another 20,000 in the dark. Atlantic City Electric had 3,000 customers without power.
Story continues below radar
The storm also closed road-closing floods on Route 22 near the Garden State Parkway in Union Township.
Danforth Avenue in the Greenville section of Jersey City was completely flooded and closed while people were trapped in flooded cars in Belleville.
Flash flooding was reported in Sayreville.
In Pennsylvania, powerful winds blew off the roofs of buildings in Montgomery County and blocked roads with debris.
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