Isaias Storm aftermath

Cleanup underway Wednesday Aug 5 after Tornado from Tropical Storm Isaias hit Rt 9 in Marmora Tuesday, 4 2020. Edward Lea Staff Photographer / Press of Atlantic City

UPPER TOWNSHIP — The National Weather Service’s team of meteorologists has confirmed that Tropical Storm Isaias brought an Enhanced Fujita (EF) Rated 1 tornado to northern Cape May County on Tuesday, packing winds of 100 mph.

About 9:45 a.m., a waterspout came ashore near the southern end of Corsons Inlet State Park near Strathmere, then tracked across the marshy areas onto the mainland. The storm, with a maximum path width of 150 yards, crossed the Garden State Parkway and moved along Route 9 in Marmora. The storm went through the Coca-Cola facility on Route 9, through several homes and then crossed Route 9 into the Pine Hill Mobile Home Court, which brought significant damage to buildings and trees. In all, the tornado tracked 5.25 miles.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale: How we rank the strength of tornadoes

The EF Scale is the standard way to measure tornadoes based on wind damage. The original Fujita Scale (or F Scale) was developed by Dr. Theodore Fujita. All tornadoes, and other severe local windstorms, were assigned a number according to the most intense damage caused by the storm.

The storm then moved northeast across Tuckahoe Road and dissipated somewhere around the Tuckahoe-Corbin City Fish and Wildlife Management Areas, the weather service said.

August 4, 2020 Tornado Track

The likely track of the Aug. 4, 2020 tornado that went through Upper Township. 

“We ran into the basement ... literally. Our windows busted, all of our trees came down. The tornado I think touched down in our yard. It’s crazy. The wind blew out the window down there, but a tree hit, busted our window, broke our grill. After when we came out, I couldn’t believe the damage, I couldn’t believe it was real. Actually, I was in tears, ‘cause I said, ‘Wow, this could have been a lot worse,’” said Jen Domsic, 34, of Marmora.

Tornadoes are a threat in tropical systems. The warm, moist atmosphere within Isaias provided energy needed for embedded thunderstorms. Tropical storms and hurricanes also bring wind shear, or change in winds with height, ripe for twister environments. Furthermore, a winter-like jet stream provided the additional dynamics needed for tornado formation. The weather service in Mount Holly, which covers most of New Jersey, all of Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland, has said six tornadoes formed in the region.

The EF scale is used to rate the severity of tornadoes based on wind speed. Running from EF-0 to EF-5, New Jersey typically experiences EF-0 or EF-1 tornadoes.

“Like nothing I’ve ever seen. ... It’s really impressive. ... I mean in the wooded area it is just mayhem, trees every which way, snapped, uprooted and twisted,” said Dan Forshaw, 28, of Somers Point, who went to Marmora to look at the damage Tuesday evening.

On average, New Jersey sees two tornadoes a year. Another tornado spun up near Ship Bottom on Tuesday as well. The weather service expected to determine the rating and exact path of that twister in the coming days. Throughout 2020, there have been three tornadoes in the state.

Tornado Warnings

Four tornado warnings were issued in New Jersey as Tropical Storm Isaias moved through Tuesday. However, only two, in Upper Township and Ship Bottom, brought a confirmed tornado. 

Atlantic City Electric has restored more than 90% of the more than 200,000 customers who were left without power due to the damaging effects of Tropical Storm Isaias, the company said Thursday.

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