MARMORA, N.J. — The tornado came off the ocean in Strathmere and, like a beachgoer headed back home in a hurry, tore over the bridge out of Ocean City, cutting a path through this mainland community around Route 9.

Witnesses in Marmora, a section of Upper Township, Cape May County, reported seeing a debris-filled tornado split in two, ripping up roofs and downing power lines, as Tropical Storm Isaias rolled through the region Tuesday. It skirted along Route 9, taking a direct hit at the Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages center, the Glory Road grave marker business, and the Pine Hill Mobile Home Court.

No injuries were reported.

The funnel, spinning with tree branches and other debris, tore through the parking lot of a nearby day-care center, Tomorrow’s World on Tuckahoe Road, where the owner gathered children into the bathroom for safety, said Jaime Bannon, whose two grandchildren, ages 1 and 5, were there.

Bannon said she was driving with her friend Jill Moran when they saw the tornado as they got off the Garden State Parkway onto Route 9 at Exit 25.

“It was pretty intense,” she said. “I went into panic mode.”

Across the street from Tomorrow’s World, where trees had fallen on either side of the building, Marilyn Sussman said she hid in a hallway of her home. Tuesday afternoon, she said she was still shaken and still without power.

“At first it sounded like death,” she said, her dog Carly close by. “There was no wind rushing, and it got deathly quiet. And then it sounded like a train.”

Damage is seen on the exterior of Glory Road Memorials in Marmora.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Damage is seen on the exterior of Glory Road Memorials in Marmora.

Bannon said cars were swerving to turn away from the scene, and the tornado appeared to split in two.

”There was damage all through,” she said. “I couldn’t believe any of it.”

Tornado passing in Marmora NJ. Totally just had a meltdown coming over the somers point bridge then it gets calm and I look up to this after I get off parkway ext25. Canceled work for sure.

Posted by Jaime Bannon on Tuesday, August 4, 2020

On Route 9, Daniel Wilson was home when the tornado touched down, lifting his shed and causing damage to his house.

Daniel Wilson was home when a tornado is believed to have touched down in Marmora, N.J. In the background, his shed was lifted on its end from the wind.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Daniel Wilson was home when a tornado is believed to have touched down in Marmora, N.J. In the background, his shed was lifted on its end from the wind.

At the Pine Hill Mobile Home Court off Route 9, residents said they felt the extreme winds but did not initially realize a tornado had likely hit.

Ellen Mallen became emotional when she looked over the broken tree that crushed her car, and the damage to her house: The tornado sheared off an enclosed front porch and left it in pieces.

“I was right out here,” Mallen said from her front door, where she remained Tuesday afternoon as fire officials consulted with her about whether she should stay. “And I heard — it was like a stillness. And I just came in.”

All around the mobile home park was evidence of the 10 to 15 seconds of destruction: snapped trees, damaged roofs, torn-apart bases, crushed cars, siding flapping in the wind. One set of outer steps was blown away from its house.

“Everything’s banging and clanging,” said Susan Rose, who said she had complained about dead trees, including one that toppled onto her neighbor’s home.

Mallen said that there was no damage inside her home, and that she hoped she could stay there to care for her cats.

Ellen Mallen, who lives in Pine Hill Mobile Home Court, leaves her home.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Ellen Mallen, who lives in Pine Hill Mobile Home Court, leaves her home.

At the Coca-Cola facility on Route 9, trailers were flipped over and windshields of employees’ cars were blown out. Trees were snapped in two, and power lines were down.

Damage of a shed and the home of Daniel Wilson of Marmora.
David Maialetti / Staff photographer
Damage of a shed and the home of Daniel Wilson of Marmora.

Scott Morgan, head of emergency management in Upper Township, said it appeared the tornado traveled from Strathmere and cut a diagonal path through Marmora, with the area “getting the brunt of this storm” around 9:30 or 9:45 a.m.

Damage to a building along Route 9 on Tuesday.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Damage to a building along Route 9 on Tuesday.

“From all indications, from the videos we received, eyewitnesses, we had a tornado go through here, roughly diagonally across Marmora, from about the 500 block of Shore Road to the 300 block of Stagecoach Road,” Morgan said.

He said there were no reported injuries, but some individuals were displaced and were being helped by the Red Cross. Many houses and businesses were damaged, and several utility poles were knocked down.

Most of the area is commercial property, but some is residential, Morgan said. “The next stage obviously is cleanup and repair,” he said.