Tornadoes bore down on the western edge of New Jersey and the eastern edge of Pennsylvania this week, leaving some residents prepared for the worst, while others were caught off guard.
“Shepard Smith Reporting” producer Julia Palmer recounted how a large tree triggered damage Wednesday when it crashed to the ground in front of her home in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, while she and her family tried to stay safe.
“My mom said the sky first turned pitch black and then dark green and she couldn’t see anything out the window, and that’s when she heard what sounded like a freight train and ran in the basement,” she said.
The tree fell inches from her home. “It knocked down our flag pole that hangs off our front porch. Power lines shredded, and one of our neighbors’ houses got knocked off of its foundation. And, we’re still without power, and... it could take a week” for the electricity to return, she said.
A tornado hit near the border of Lehigh and Bucks counties in Pennsylvania at around 3:15 p.m. that day.
Many people on the East Coast had been unaccustomed to such storms and not conditioned to hear or heed warnings.
A survey team from the National Weather Service determined a twister caused storm damage in Stanhope, N.J., on Tuesday night. The team had yet to determine specifics about its strength and path.
New Jersey gets a handful of tornadoes per year on average. Two twisters hit New York City on one day in 2012, but only about 60 had hit the area in the 50 years before that, according to the National Weather Service.
Tuesday’s tornado damaged Lenape Valley Regional High School’s facade and ripped up a softball dugout, depositing the roof on its side on the ground in Stanhope. Toppled trees and power lines left most residents without electricity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.