NJ Tornado Count Grows as Power Restored to Most in Jackson, Howell
The number of confirmed tornadoes in New Jersey is up to six and counting from Saturday night.
The National Weather Service has confirmed a total of 8 tornadoes including six in New Jersey and one each in Pennsylvania and Delaware with one investigation still to be completed in the Mays Landing section of Hamilton Township in Atlantic County.
An EF-2 in Sea Girt with an estimated peak wind between 110 and 120 mph destroyed the New Jersey Youth Challenge Academy at the National Guard Training Center. The entire half dome, wood frame, shingled roof of the academy building lifted and thrown to the east. Debris was scattered 250 yards in a semi-circle pattern.
A small bleacher was overturned at the Manasquan Little League fields by a straight-line wind of up to 80 mph.
Five from the same cell
Two EF-1 tornadoes in Crosswicks (Burlington County) and another one that moved from Allentown to Cream Ridge (Monmouth) with top winds of 90 mph were also confirmed late Monday. Survey teams still need to check a site in Mays Landing.
Five of New Jersey's six confirmed tornadoes came from the same storm cell, which traveled straight along the southern edge of Interstate 195, according to Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.
"Had that rotation stayed on the ground, scraping across the entire state, instead of repeatedly lifting and dropping, the damage would have been even worse and more devastating," Zarrow said.
Back to near normal
JCP&L has restored most of its customers in Howell and Jackson with 114 customers left in Jackson and most all customers in Howell. School is back in session in both communities Tuesday.
Six Flags Great Adventure, which was closed Sunday after several nearby tornadoes, will reopen Wednesday as planned, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Mance.
"Due to our advanced preparedness, including securing our buildings and loose items, the park sustained minimal damage. All of our animals were safely secured prior to the storm, and all are doing well. The park will be open, as planned, daily April 5 – 16 for our annual Spring Break," Mance said in an email.
The dome at nearby Adventure Crossing was deflated and its campus remains closed, accoding to its Facebook page. The facility on Tuesday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
Why all the tornadoes?
All the ingredients needed to for tornadoes to develop were present on Saturday, according to Zarrow.
"Surging warmth and humidity, coupled with a strong low-level jet and an approaching cold front. Instability, moisture, shear, and lift. The ultimate recipe for strong, severe, and even tornadic thunderstorms," Zarrow said.
Although tornadic activity has increased in the past few years 1989 is the benchmark year for New Jersey tornadoes, with 19 total reports. The most active day was Nov. 16 with eight confirmed tornadoes.
"They occurred across all corners of the state. All eight tornadoes were on the ground only briefly, tracking a mile or less. And all were rated F-0 or F-1 on the Fujita scale. The most significant storms that day hit Mercer County, inflicting over $2.5 million in damage around the West Trenton and Ewing vicinity," Zarrow said.