Two new tornadoes have been confirmed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by the National Weather Service, adding to the growing total of touch-downs that have hit both states this year. Through June, New Jersey has already had five times the number of tornadoes that an entire year typically yields. The tornadoes hit the states in a well forecast severe weather outbreak that hit the region on Monday, where residents had ample warning severe weather would hit.
The first tornado hit Martins Creek in northeastern Northampton County, Pennsylvania, close to the Delaware River and the state line with New Jersey. The EF-0 rated tornado had estimated peak winds of 65 mph and traveled 3.37 miles; the maximum path width was about 60 years. It touched down at 2:58 pm on Monday and lifted up just 6 minutes later at 3:04 pm. Damage from this tornado was limited to wheat fields where crop damage occurred along with nearby small branches.
The second tornado hit Bernardsville in northern Somerset County, specifically along the NJ Transit line just to the southwest of the intersection of Minebrook Road and Old Quarry Road. This tornado was stronger than the first; the National Weather Service rated it as an EF-1 tornado with estimated peak winds of 105 mph; it traveled 1.4 miles and had a maximum path width of 475 yards. It struck at 3:29 pm and lasted until 3:34 pm.
The New Jersey tornado snapped and dropped numerous trees onto the transit line before knocking down other trees and powerlines. One tree knocked over by the tornado landed on a car causing damage. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
The Enhanced Fujita Scale or EF Scale, which became operational on February 1, 2007, is used to assign a tornado a ‘rating’ based on estimated wind speeds and related damage. When tornado-related damage is surveyed, it is compared to a list of Damage Indicators (DIs) and Degrees of Damage (DoD) which help estimate better the range of wind speeds the tornado likely produced. From that, a rating (from EF0 to EF5) is assigned. In general, EF-0 tornadoes have 65-85 mph winds, EF-1 have 86-110 mph winds, EF-2 have 111-135 mph winds, EF-3 have 136-165 mph winds, EF-4 have 166-200 mph winds, and EF-5 tornadoes have winds in excess of 200 mph. The EF Scale was revised from the original Fujita Scale to reflect better examinations of tornado damage surveys so as to align wind speeds more closely with associated storm damage., with the new scale related to how most structures are designed.
According to the NOAA, in the period from 1950 to June of 2022, there have been a total of 184 reported tornado touch-downs in New Jersey, responsible for 80 injuries, 1 death, and more than $84 million in property damage. In a typical year, New Jersey will see 2-3 tornadoes. However, while the overall volume of severe storms and tornadoes has trended down significantly across the entire United States, the opposite has been occurring in New Jersey. In 2019 10 tornadoes were recorded while in 2020 the number dropped to 4; however, the number rose again to 13 in 2021.