Boat, Lifejacket of Missing NJ Boater Found After Violent Thunderstorms
The search continues for a man who went missing on a rowboat during Tuesday's powerful thunderstorms. The Coast Guard found his lifejacket and rowboat on Tuesday night.
The Coast Guard continued its search Wednesday for the man who entered the Toms River from Ocean Gate in a rowboat on Tuesday afternoon and was reported missing by his wife about 4 p.m.
A State Police helicopter and fire companies in Toms River helped with an air and water search.
The Tuesday afternoon storms brought gusty winds that reached 76 MPH in Manasquan, where a funnel cloud was spotted moving toward the ocean from the Herbertsville section of Brick.
Quarter-inch hail was reported by the National Weather Service in Hunterdon, Mercer and Warren counties as the storms crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey.
WPG Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the storm may have been a "gustnado."
"Linear thunderstorms, like we saw on Tuesday, usually do not produce strong tornadoes. However, they can push out intense straight-line winds. And any time you get 60+ mph winds, it only takes a little twisting action to produce a little spin-up," Zarrow said.
"That's exactly what a 'gustnado' is. An area of rotation embedded within the 'gust front' of a thunderstorm. Because they usually do not attach to the base of the thunderstorm cloud, a 'gustnado' is not the same as a 'tornado.'"
Toms River Fire Board Administrator Brian Kubiel said 10 houses suffered enough damage for them to be considered unsafe/uninhabitable. The storms knocked down utility poles and trees and set off fire alarms in the Brookside section of the township.
Three homes on a cliff along the Mansquan River were damaged as the storm made its way north into Brielle and Brick, displacing three families, according to Brick Mayor John Ducey.
"There was damage to houses, damage to cars, nobody was hurt, which was surprising since everybody was home. Every animal and every person was safe. Just cars and houses and wires on telephone poles were damaged," Ducey told New Jersey 101.5.
Two of the families were able to stay with relatives while the other family stayed at a hotel, according to the mayor.
The wind damaged sheds and similar sized structures near the beach side of the National Guard Training Center at Sea Girt but did not affect daily operations, according to spokesman Kryn Westhoven. A storm investigation team from the National Weather Service is coming on Thursday to determine what type of storm moved through the area, according to Westhoven.
Haddonfield Mayor Neal Rochford said 20 PSE&G trucks were still working on repairs on Wednesday morning. Nearly 600 customers in Haddonfield and Haddon Heights were without power at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Storm damage in Brick (Mayor John Ducey)