Tornadoes Strike Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia Area Again-Major Damage (9/1/21)

John Farley

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Apr 1, 2004
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I saw a mesoscale discussion from SPC (linked below, but will probably disappear after a few days) that mentioned 0-1 km storm-relative helicity in excess of 800 m2/s2. This was later at night, after the New Jersey tornadoes, and may have mainly affected storms over water. Still, I do not think I have ever seen that much low-level helicity, assuming the 800 number was accurate and not a typo or something. I did not look at the data directly, so am relying on what SPC said. But if it is accurate, that is a truly exceptional parameter.

 
Jul 5, 2004
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Ida packed one HELL of a punch in the Tri-State area. And frankly, the tornadic activity here in New Jersey was practically unprecedented. Southern New Jersey/parts of Philadelphia were hit by major tornadoes about a month apart. Damage from tornadoes a month ago was EF3 damage. From the looks of the damage I've seen from last night's storms, it appears to be either EF3 or EF4 damage
 
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Reactions: JamesCaruso
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
I was on vacation during the 7/29/21 outbreak in this same region, and was bummed to have missed a once-in-a-lifetime event for these parts. Little did I expect there would be another one, just a little over a month later... I am usually cynical and pessimistic about the prospects of good storms around here, or the ability to see anything or navigate around given hills, trees, buildings and traffic. 7/29 should have been a lesson to me, at least about the possibility of good storms (can't do much about the other problems). Still, I failed to take it seriously enough and did not do any true targeting and was not motivated enough to go too much out of my way from my normal commute home from work. But at least I was somewhat engaged in the experience, rather than being away or just hunkered down at home. I posted a "chase" summary in the Reports thread here:

 
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Reactions: Saul Trabal
Jul 5, 2009
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The storm of the day was Mullica Hill NJ. Saul posted some great video above, but I recommend doing further internet searches for this remarkable tornado. If you didn't know it was a NJ tornado, you would bet any amount of money you were looking at an Oklahoma tornado.

This video is from (or, I should say, *IN*) one of the other tornados this day, in Maple Glen, PA. Be sure to watch to the very end (it's only a little over a minute long):


For this video, you need a Facebook account (the link should take you right to the video if you have an account and are signed-in). It is of the Mullica Hill tornado. The video shows the tornado approaching, but this part is not particularly impressive. What is dramatic, eerie, and Twilight Zone -like is the end, when the man emerges from his basement to see the aftermath of the tornado as it grows to a wedge in the distance. Hope you'll be able to access because it's really quite haunting.


For anyone interested in this event, I also recommend the related thread on the Philadelphia Weather Forum at phillywx.com. This thread has 20-something pages because it starts from the morning with people posting observations, forecasts/nowcasts, etc. It's a forum that simply has a different style and cadence than Stormtrack. Anyway, the later pages have stuff from the evening as it unfolded, and the aftermath, including some damage photos. The link here I think goes to p. 20 but you should be able to go to earlier or later pages from there as you like.