A potent front that ripped through the region Friday set off near hurricane-force gusts at the Shore, took down trees, and knocked out power to an estimated 30,000 customers.
National Weather Service investigators determined than an EF1 tornado, with winds of 100 mph, touched down near an apartment building in Elkton, Md., but no deaths or injuries were reported. They also were looking at another heavily damaged site in New Castle County, Del., for a possible tornado hit.
“We have numerous reports of damages,” said Joe Miketta, the warning-coordinator meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly.
Dozens of wind and damage reports poured into the weather service office between 9:45 and 11 a.m., said Miketta. With storm alerts, flood advisories, and wind warnings, at some points during the morning the weather-service hazard map took on hallucinatory looks.
A gust of 73 mph was reported in Cape May — that’s just 1 mph beneath the Category 1 hurricane threshold — and a 69 mph gust was recorded near Atlantic City.
Atlantic City Electric reported 22,000 power outages, with the heaviest concentration near the Shore, said spokesperson Jake Sneeden. “It’s been a busy day,” he said.
On the mainland, in addition to the tornado and the possible twister in Delaware, downed trees, branches, and wires were common all over the region.
Radnor Township School District spokesperson Michael Petitti said the district’s high school, elementary school, and bus depot all lost power. However, thanks to generators, schools were able to stay in session, no doubt to the delight of the students.
While the winds were even more ferocious than advertised, fortunately the rains were not. The axis of heaviest rain fell well to the east, and Philadelphia, which had been under a flash flood watch with a forecast of up to three inches, measured only about three-quarters of an inch.
Generally, it acted very much like another spring-like storm in a season without winter.
The weekend should be dry and marginally seasonal with daytime highs in the 40s. Then the forecast has that save-get look with rain possible Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with highs in the 50s Tuesday, and 40s the next two days.