It really was a tornado

Photo by Mike Chipowsky

The National Weather Service has confirmed that what some Hopewell Township residents experienced on Thursday really was a tornado.

The report states: “The supercell storm which produced a tornado in Plumstead Twp cycled and produced another tornado beginning in New Hope in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Tree damage began near River Rd just west of the Delaware River, with a portion of River Rd closed and impassable due to downed trees. The tornado crossed the Delaware River and entered Mercer County, New Jersey, in the area of Washington Crossing. Multiple reports of residential tree damage were received from Washington Crossing, and the survey team observed tree damage along River Rd on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. From there the tornado continued southeast and crossed Pleasant Valley Rd. The first indications of EF2 damage came on that road, with numerous large hardwood and softwood trees snapped, sheared, and/or uprooted. The tornado continued southeastward and crossed through Baldpate Mountain. Continued heavy tree damage was observed in this area. An access road to the top of the mountain was barely passable when the survey team reached it in late afternoon, after many hours of tree clearing work by local parks officials and private companies. Hundreds of trees were snapped or damaged on this mountain. Damage continued down the mountain through Fiddlers Creek Rd and Church Rd. The tornado path then crossed Washington Crossing State Park. Further damage was observed just southeast along Bear Tavern Rd. In fact, some of the largest downed trees were observed in this area. However, by this point damage became increasingly unidirectional as the storm’s rear flank downdraft likely wrapped around the tornadic circulation. Sufficient evidence of tornadic winds still existed in the Bear Tavern Rd area, but it is estimated the tornado lifted soon after, shortly before entering much more densely populated areas near the Trenton Mercer Airport.”

Rating:                 EF-2
Estimated Peak Wind:    120 mph
Path Length /statute/:  6.4 miles
Path Width /maximum/:   400 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start Date:             July 29, 2021
Start Time:             5:59 PM EDT
Start Location:         New Hope / Bucks / PA
Start Lat/Lon:          40.345/-74.948

End Date:               July 29, 2021
End Time:               6:14 PM EDT
End Location:           Hopewell Twp / Mercer / NJ
End Lat/Lon:            40.297/-74.846

As of Sunday afternoon, Pleasant Valley Road, Fiddlers Creek Road, and Church Road remain closed due to extensive tree damage. Washington Crossing Park and Baldpate Mountain are open, but crews continue to work to clear the damage. Nectars Garden Center on Rt. 29 (aka 1600 River Road) is having a big sale all this week to acknowledge how close everyone came to what could have been a much worse situation. The Kerrs farmstand on Bear Tavern Road has reopened.

Edited Monday August 2 at 8:13 to add these incredible photos from Church Road resident Gretchen Kish. We are so glad everyone is ok.

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