Storm survey teams from the National Weather Service will be busy after a wild night of weather Thursday that included 12 tornado warnings in New Jersey.
The most significant amount of damage in New Jersey is suspected to have taken place on the north end of Long Beach Island, where the weather service said it received reports of a roof being torn off a house and damage to surrounding structures.
Photos and video show fallen power lines, overturned boats, damage to the roof and siding of homes as well as fences torn out of the ground in the High Bar Harbor section of Barnegat Light after a fierce storm blew through late Thursday.
“From the damage reports, we strongly suspect it’s a tornado,” said Dean Iovino, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Mouny Holly.
The central part of the state took the brunt of the blow on Thursday with multiple tornado warnings in Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean and Hunterdon counties.
“It’s been quite awhile since we had an evening quite like that,“ Iovino said. “It was unusual — we’ve had some severe weather events over the years but this was among the busier ones.”
One suspected tornado struck Mercer County Thursday night, leaving power outages, flooding and downed trees, while a second suspected twister touched down in the Lakehurst area of Ocean County, according to the weather service.
Washington Crossing State Park on the Delaware River in Mercer County is closed Friday due to downed trees throughout the park. In addition, the Fireman’s Eddy section of Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park in Hopewell will be closed Friday as crews evaluate the damage, according to the state parks service.
In addition to the Hopewell and Trenton areas of Mercer County, the weather service is interested in surveying damage in the Lakehurst area of Ocean County, the Barnegat Township and Harvey Cedars area in Ocean County, and the Willingboro and Mount Holly region of Burlington County.
There were so many possible tornadoes that the weather service will likely not be able to check all of them.
“I’d say Hopewell is fairly likely and the one on LBI,” Iovino said. “The others we’ll have to investigate further to see if we can get someone out there.”
The good news is that only slightly more than 1,100 homes and businesses in New Jersey are without power as of 7:30 a.m. Friday.
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania — just across the Delaware River from Trenton, a confirmed tornado left a wide path of damage — including ripping the roof off a car dealership.
For all the chaotic weather, just .83 inches of rain fell in Trenton on Thursday with the top wind gust reaching 46 mph, the weather service said. Atlantic City picked up .18 inches of rain and a wind gust of 32 mph was recorded. In Newark, .57 inches of rain fell and the strongest wind gust was 26 mph.
Pleasant weather is ahead Friday and Saturday with sunny skies and highs in the upper 70s and low 80s with low humidity. There’s a chance of thunderstorms on Sunday.
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NJ Advance Media staff writers Noah Cohen, Len Melisurgo and Chris Sheldon contributed to this report.
Jeff Goldman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.