The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ has confirmed that an EF-3 tornado touched down in southern New Jersey on September 1 as what was left of Major Hurricane Ida plowed through the state. Amazingly, no one was killed by the tornado which destroyed multiple homes; however, 2 people did require hospitalization from their injuries.
The EF-3 tornado traveled for 12.6 miles and has a maximum width of 400 yards. The estimated peak wind speeds were 150 mph, which makes it the equivalent of a high-end Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.
The tornado first touched-down at 6:10 pm near Harrisonville, New Jersey. There, it damaged primarily trees and limbs before strengthening and moving northeast. It entered the Cedar Grove area and produced significant tree damage, including uprooting several. From there, the tornado moved into the Willow Oaks subdivision, strengthening further and producing significant damage to trees, as well as serious structural damage to a number of homes. Several homes had exterior walls completely collapsed, a number of homes lost roofs and upper story walls, and one home had only a few interior walls remaining. Vehicles were tossed around and moved, and damage from flying debris was observed in several spots.
According to a storm survey completed by the National Weather Service, the tornado continued to move to the northeast to Bridgeton Pike
where multiple trees had trunks snapped and most of the barns and storage buildings at a large commercial farm were completely destroyed. The tornado also reached its maximum width at this location and was estimated to be around 400 yards wide. The tornado then continued northeast through the woods with multiple trees snapped before entering the subdivision at Salvatore Drive.
The most significant damage associated with the tornado occurred on Salvatore Drive, just 4,000 feet away from the Mullica Hill Shop Rite. In this community, one home was completely destroyed with no interior or exterior walls standing. Other homes in the subdivision had exterior walls collapsed along with garage collapses and vehicles being tossed around by the tornadic winds. According to the National Weather Service, the consistency of the damage along the path of the tornado in this area was EF-3 in the middle of the circulation, with EF-2 along the edge of the circulation. In addition, the tree damage was not as extensive behind the completely destroyed house.
From there, the EF-3 tornado continued to the northeast damaging trees and structures along its path before reaching a large commercial dairy farm where extensive damage occurred. Barns were destroyed and two large grain silos were toppled. The tornado then crossed Jefferson Road and crossed Eachus Road snapping multiple trees. From there, the tornado moved into the Breakneck Road area producing complete deforestation with nearly 100 percent of the trees in a thickly wooded area snapped.
More significant tree damage occured along the tornado’s path. The tornado crossed Main Street, just south of Chestnut Branch
Park, in Mantua Township , snapping and uprooting a number of trees before reaching the Delaware Valley Florist commercial greenhouse mostly destroying the structure. The tornado damage path then continued to the northeast reaching Wenonah, snapping and uprooting a number of trees, a few homes lost roofs and one structure collapsed.
Less severe tree damage persisted to the northeast along the tornado`s path toward Deptford where the tornado lifted. The tornado was on the ground wrecking havoc for a full 20 minutes before lifting up at 6:30 pm.
The scale that rates this tornado an EF-3 is known as the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It classifies tornadoes based on their wind speeds. EF-0 tornadoes have wind speeds 65 to 85 mph; 1 has winds 86 to 110mph; 2 has winds 111-135mph; 3 has winds 136-165mph; 4 has winds 166-200mph; 5 has winds in excess of 200 mph.
This EF-3 tornado that hit New Jersey is one of at least 7 the Mount Holly office of the National Weather Service confirmed a touch-down from Ida’s remnants. Other confirmed tornadoes at this time include an EF-2 in Fort Washington/Upper Dublin Township to Horsham Township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, , an EF-1 in Edgewater Park, Burlington County, New Jersey which traveled to Bristol, Bucks County Pennsylvania, an EF-1 near Oxford, Chester County, Pennsylvania, an EF-1 in Buckingham Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, an EF-0 in Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, and EF-1 in Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Storm surveys continue to be done in the field and more reports are likely to be filed in the coming days.