Storms sweep through area as tornado watch ends

A line of showers with heavy winds swept from west to east through the Philadelphia area, but a widespread tornado watch that included southeastern Pennsylvania counties and New Jersey ended by 4:30 p.m.

Mid-afternoon, rain was falling throughout the western suburbs, with some areas getting up to an inch of rain an hour, according to meteorologist Mitchell Gaines of the National Weather Service's Mount Holly office.

Areas reporting more than 100 customers without power were sprinkled throughout the region, but the hardest hit is the New Hope and Solebury region in Bucks County, according to More than 2,000 customers in those two municipalities combined remained without power at 4 p.m.

"We are working to restore service as safely and as quickly as possible," said spokeswoman Liz Williamson.

"The tornado watch should ending in the next hour or so in the Philadelphia area, however rain will likely be continuing into the early evening hours," Gaines said.

Some areas got lightning, but not many, he said.

The watch means conditions make a tornado possible. If actual rotating clouds are observed, a more serious tornado warning could be issued for specific areas.

Some rotation was detected in eastern Hunterdon County, N.J., which includes the Lambertville area, but no tornado was spotted and no warning was issued.

After the volatile weather moves through this afternoon, rain could be less heavy but steady this evening, Gaines said.

Temperatures will drop to around the 50 mark overnight in Philadelphia, with highs around 70, perhaps even in the upper 60s, for several days.

For more, go to National Weather Service page for the Philadlephia region.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or