Watch CBS News

Landspout tornado leaves trail of damage in Lawrence Township, New Jersey

National Weather Service confirms landspout tornado in Mercer County
National Weather Service confirms landspout tornado in Mercer County 01:44

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A hot and humid Friday afternoon brought severe storms to the Delaware Valley that lasted well into the night. Storm damage, including flipped cars in Lawrence Township, Mercer County, prompted the National Weather Service to send a survey team out Saturday to assess the damage.

After conducting a storm survey, the National Weather Service Mount Holly confirmed Saturday afternoon that an EF-0 landspout tornado touched down in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, between 5:59-6 p.m. Friday.

Landspouts can form from interactions from outflow boundaries, as they can occasionally cause enhanced convergence and vorticity at the surface. There were several outflow boundaries in the area Friday as the storms rolled through the region. In the case of this landspout, it formed along an outflow boundary with a developing thunderstorm overhead. The outflow boundary provided just enough of the vorticity, or spin, near the surface that then got caught up in the developing thunderstorm's updraft and caused that small spinning area to get turned upward.


Unlike typical tornadoes that form from rotating supercell thunderstorms and develop from the rotating thunderstorm overhead, landspout tornadoes form from the ground up. Landspout tornadoes are typically much weaker than traditional supercell tornadoes and are usually difficult to predict and track on the radar because of their small size and occur below the radar's beam

The Mercer County landspout tornado had winds up to 80 mph and was 60 yards wide, according to the NWS. The system's path was measured at .13 miles long and no injuries were reported.

The NWS' storm survey revealed the landspout tornado took down and snapped several trees and flipped about a half dozen vehicles.

Jaroslaw Radzimierski

Friday's severe weather also left a trail of destruction with numerous reports of hail, flooding and even a waterspout reported over Barnegat Bay.

Cars flipped over in Lawrence Township, NJ after storms hit 00:30
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.