BLACKWOOD, N.J. – Meteorologists have confirmed a tornado was responsible for the destruction left behind in the Philadelphia metro area, where homes were damaged and numerous trees were knocked down in parts of South Jersey on Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, New Jersey, sent a crew to Camden County to survey the storm damage. The survey team determined that an EF-1 tornado with winds up to 90 mph struck the Blackwood section of Gloucester Township, New Jersey, at about 5 a.m.
The twister touched down at 4:59 a.m. and traveled just over a quarter-mile through Blackwood before lifting 2 minutes later at 5:01 a.m. The maximum width of the tornado was about 60 yards, or 180 feet.
Shortly after 5:15 a.m., officers with the Gloucester Township Police Department received calls about storm damage, FOX 29 reported. According to police, one resident indicated a large tree had fallen over and gone through the roof of a home.
Police said that numerous trees were down on parked cars and in the roadways in this area.
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Officers told FOX 29 they also found about five homes in the Deer Park Development in Sicklerville, New Jersey, that had suffered storm damage.
Authorities said no one was injured by the tornado, and none of the damage to properties was structural.
At 4:33 a.m., the NWS issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning valid until 5:15 a.m. for Philadelphia and parts of southeastern Pennsylvania eastward into adjacent portions of New Jersey, including the part of Camden County where the twister touched down.
"At 432 AM EDT, a severe thunderstorm was located over Gloucester City (New Jersey), moving northeast at 30 mph. Philadelphia International Airport reported a wind gust to 54 mph as this storm moved through," the warning stated.
According to the warning, the main hazards from the storm were wind gusts up to 60 mph and torrential rainfall. It did not mention the possibility of a tornado, but this shows why you should always take a Severe Thunderstorm Warning as seriously as you would a Tornado Warning.
Thursday's twister touched down just 10 miles away and one county over from where a powerful EF-3 tornado devastated parts of Mullica Hill, New Jersey, last September as the remnants of Hurricane Ida moved up the East Coast.
According to data from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, New Jersey averages three tornadoes each year.