Seven different tornadoes touched down in the greater Philadelphia region when the remnants of Hurricane Ida battered the region Wednesday, the National Weather Service has confirmed, marking one of the most dramatic and severe storms in regional history.
Five of those tornadoes hit southeastern Pennsylvania, with three whipping through parts of Bucks County, one in Montgomery County and another in Chester County. The tornadoes in southeastern Pennsylvania ranged in wind strength from 90 miles an hour to 130 miles per hour.
More details on the exact path of these storms are expected at some point Friday, when the National Weather Service releases the findings of its investigations. But for now, it’s known already that the tornadoes covered miles-long stretches of densely populated suburbia, ripping off roofs, toppling small forests, taking down electrical wires and scattering debris.
During several hours Wednesday night, the tornadoes led to several warnings from officials around the area, prompting countless residents to shelter in their basements to wait out the severe weather. At least four people have been confirmed dead due to the storm’s impacts in suburban Philadelphia, though officials suggest that three of them are due to drowning.
Here’s a glance at the Wednesday tornadoes that have been confirmed by the National Weather Service in Mount Holly thus far, and what is known about their strength:
- Upper Dublin and Horsham, Montgomery County: EF2 tornado, with peak winds reaching 130 miles per hour.
- Buckingham Township, Bucks County: EF1 tornado gusting up to 100 miles per hour.
- Upper Makefield, Bucks County: EF1 tornado, with winds up to 90 miles per hour.
- Bristol, Bucks County (originating from Edgewater Park, New Jersey): EF1 tornado, with 90 mile per hour winds.
- Oxford, Chester County: EF1 tornado, with peak winds reaching 95 miles per hour.
There were also tornadoes confined to neighboring New Jersey:
- Mullica Hill: EF3 tornado, with winds up to 150 miles per hour.
- Princeton, Mercer County: EF0 tornado, with winds up to 75 miles per hour.
There have now been 26 twisters confirmed in Pennsylvania in 2021. That already far exceeds the average number in the state for a full year, which is 16, according to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The state’s all-time record for tornadoes in a year is 37, in 2019.
All told, Pennsylvania has seen more severe weather events in 2021 than any other state in the country besides Texas, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center says. The state has seen 941 events of severe hail, wind, or tornadoes, trailing only the 1,326 in Texas.