Severe Storms Rip Through Region, Causing Damage, Power Outages

Several Tornado Warnings were issued throughout the day as storms slammed the region.

What to Know

  • For the second straight day and night, severe storms ripped through our region, causing widespread damage and power outages.
  • More than 26,000 PECO customers were without power as of late Wedneday night, with the majority of the outages in Bucks County.
  • Make sure to download the NBC10 app to stay ahead of the storms.

For the second straight day and night, severe storms ripped through our region, causing widespread damage and causing at least one tornado.

Tornado Warnings were issued for Lehigh, Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania as well as Hunterdon, Burlington, Monmouth and Mercer counties in New Jersey, Wednesday afternoon and early evening. All of the warnings later expired.

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The powerful storm system moved through the Philadelphia region, one day after at least three tornadoes touched down in Pennsylvania.

Hail pelted homes, cars and streets in the Lehigh Valley, especially around Macungie. By early Wednesday evening, the storms tore down trees and power lines in Mercer, Montgomery, and Bucks counties. There were also reports of flash flooding in Bucks County.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service determined that an EF0 tornado with winds of 85 mph or less hit along the county line of Bucks and Lehigh counties Wednesday afternoon.

More than 26,000 PECO customers were without power as of late Wednesday night, with the majority of the outages in Bucks County. Thousands remained in the dark Thursday morning as the Central Bucks School District was forced to close some schools and delay others.

Telford, Pennsylvania, was hit especially hard with fallen trees and power lines as well as damaged homes reported throughout the borough. The wind was so strong that it tossed a trampoline from a neighbor's yard onto another man's van.

Dramatic video from one driver in Telford showed hail and debris striking power lines, causing sparks and flames.

Storms also snarled airport traffic. More than 90 flights were delayed or canceled at the Philadelphia International Airport, according to an airport spokesperson.

The National Weather Service sent survey teams out to Bucks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties Thursday to survey storm damage.

A First Alert for possible flash floods and other dangerous weather was in place throughout the day. A Tornado Watch was also in effect for all Pennsylvania counties, all of South Jersey and Mercer County and New Castle County, Delaware, until 8 p.m. 

Some brief, scattered showers moved through Wednesday morning and early afternoon. As temperatures rose throughout the day, topping out in the upper 80s, the threat of severe weather increased. This mugginess helped fuel storms during the evening commute.

By 2:30 p.m., some pop-up storms were hitting Berks, Chester and Lehigh counties. During that time, sunshine continued to fuel pre-storm conditions in South Jersey and more immediate Philadelphia suburbs. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was also in effect until 3:30 p.m. for towns including Allentown, Bethlehem and Emmaus.

Wednesday's tornado threat came after an EF2 tornado with 111 to 135 mph winds touched down in Berks County, Pennsylvania, Tuesday evening, ripping holes out of homes, blowing out windows, damaging cars and tearing down trees in Caernavon Township and Morgantown. The National Weather Service also confirmed two other tornadoes touched down in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

The recent spate of severe weather threats throughout the greater Philadelphia region has put a spotlight on the difference between the National Weather Service's tornado "watch" and tornado "warning" alerts. 

A tornado watch is the less severe advisory, but still indicates that people should be prepared, according to the NWS. A watch typically covers a larger geographic area, like multiple counties or states, and means that a tornado is possible in or near these areas. Weather conditions during a tornado watch usually include thunderstorms.

A tornado warning is more severe and means that a tornado is happening or could be imminent, NBC10 First Alert Meteorologist Brittney Shipp said. A warning means "imminent danger to life and property," according to the NWS.

A third round of severe weather is set to hit our area Thursday. A First Alert is in effect for our entire Thursday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. with damaging winds, flash floods, hail and isolated tornadoes possible.

We'll finally get calmer conditions Friday.

Keep checking back with the NBC10 First Alert Weather Team on air and download the app to get the latest forecast for your neighborhood throughout the week.

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