Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in New Jersey anymore.
The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes did touch down down near Howell in Monmouth County, New Jersey on Saturday morning, part of swift-moving thunderstorms that slammed the region.
The first tornado ripped through the parking lot of a Home Depot on Route 9 around 7:20 a.m., with wind speeds reaching 75 mph. It was caught on video and widely shared on social media.
In the video, filmed by Howell resident Brett M. Dzadik, the tornado can be seen moving southeast through the Home Depot parking lot. According to a NWS storm survey, several trees were uprooted and snapped, and metal roofing from a nearby Chase Bank was torn and found a half mile away. The storm also threw two occupied cars into each other and damaged several clothing bins.
The tornado caused lots of damage across the area, including damaging the roof of the popular Ice Cream on 9 shop on Route 9 and uprooting several trees in and around the area. It traveled half a mile before dissipating.
The second tornado landed in Howell minutes later, which tracked through Oak Glen Park about 3.5 miles east of the first tornado and limited its damage to mostly trees. The second tornado, which was smaller and traveled a shorter distance than the first, also had winds reaching 75 mph.
What appeared to be a third tornado in Browns Mills, Burlington County, has been classified as a “microburst” by the NWS, which the service defines as a storm with straight-line winds and a “convective downdraft” less than 2 1/2 miles wide and peak winds lasting less than 5 minutes.
Damage from the microburst included downed power poles and damaged trees, and confused many residents, who thought they’d also been hit by a tornado.
A tornado touched down in my hometown, Browns Mills, NJ, this am. This is Ft. Dix!
New Jersey State Police says there were no injuries reported. According to PSE&G, almost 6,000 customers were without power in South Jersey at the height of the storm.
A Camden County spokesman, in a statement, said the severe weather and strong wind gusts that came through the county at about 6:30 a.m. knocked down trees across roadways and on top of homes and cars.
Prior to the storm, the NWS had issued a tornado warning for parts of Camden, Gloucester, Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Middlesex counties, indicating a tornado had either been sighted or indicated by weather radar.