Sunday, November 29, 2015

NWS: No tornado in Burlco, more storms tonight

Warren Avert caught this photo of lightning during a serious storm that ripped through the Philadelphia region Monday night.
Warren Avert caught this photo of lightning during a serious storm that ripped through the Philadelphia region Monday night.

The National Weather Service has concluded that a tornado didn't touch down in Burlington County during Monday night's storms, but forecasters are warning the region to brace for another round of storms today.

Monday's storms led to bouts of flooding, widespread lightning and strong winds. The weather service issued a brief tornado warning for Burlington County, and officials headed to the area today to look at the damage.

The weather service said shortly after 10 a.m. today that the damage was due to straight-line winds, not a tornado.

The winds peaked near Medford and Southampton between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m. Monday, the weather service said, leading to fallen trees and branches and displaced irrigation pipes.

The damage is consistent with 60 to 70 mph winds, the weather service said. Eyewitness reports indicated a tornado didn't touch down.

Determining whether a tornado hit involves interviewing witnesses about what they saw and heard, inspecting debris, and studying environmental data like radar, atmospheric conditions and wind, as well as trying to obtain photos or video footage from the storm, Joe Miketta, a meteorologist with the weather service's Mount Holly office, said earlier this morning.

"It's like putting the pieces of a puzzle together," Miketta said. "Not one piece gives us all the information we need." 

More thunderstorms are forecast for today and the weather service has issued a flash flood watch that remains in effect until late tonight. Additionally, a severe thunderstorm watch is in place until 9 p.m. Damage is likely to be more extensive than Monday's storms, the weather service said.

Some storms could involve heavy rain and strong wind gusts. Rainfall amounts of one to three inches are possible, forecasters say, and the storms could bring 70 mph wind gusts and 1.5-inch hail.

The strongest clusters are expected to move through the Interstate 95 corridor around 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and hit coastal New Jersey and Delaware from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Rain showers are likely through early Wednesday morning, according to the weather service.

Meanwhile, some in the region are still feeling the effects of last night's storms: About 1,200 homes and businesses continued to lack electricity as of shortly before 1 p.m., though that number was down significantly from the outages late Monday.

Peco was reporting 895 outages, with 467 in Philadelphia, 275 in Chester County, 81 in Bucks County, 61 in Delaware County and 11 in Montgomery County

PSE&G said 391 customers in the region lacked power, with 254 outages in Camden County, 132 in Burlington County and five in Gloucester County.

Lightning filled the sky Monday night, and preliminary reports indicated a 14-year-old boy in Glenolden, Delaware County, was struck. Reports of flash flooding during Monday's storms were reported along Philadelphia-area streets and creeks, and a number of downed trees and wires were also reported. And the weather service said it received reports of quarter-sized hail in Montgomeryville.

Several thunderstorms last week left tens of thousands of people without power, some for several days.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or Follow @phillynews on Twitter.
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