When National Weather Service investigators examined the damage path of the Fred-inspired tornado that started in Montgomery County and crossed into Bucks, this wasn’t quite what they anticipated.
“They expected to find a long path,” said Brian Haines, the science and information officer in the Mount Holly office. But not this long: It traveled close to nine miles — more than four times farther than the average tornado — after touching down in Hatfield Township and dissipating 15 minutes later in Hilltown Township near the Bedminster Township border.
Given the initial damage reports, the length was a surprise, Haines said. Investigators kept finding further evidence that lengthened the documented trail. The twister, with a ground width of about 140 yards, was rated an EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with peak winds of 105 mph. (The scale runs from 0 to 5, with 5 packing the greatest gusts.)
No one was injured, but 18 to 20 homes incurred some damage, said Steve Coll, a fire official who was part of the survey team.
The tornado brought down several trees in the Hidden Springs mobile-home community and ripped roofing off an auto-repair shop in Hilltown Township.
“It’s really good there wasn’t more property damage,” said Haines. And while it was a significant tree-killer, “They’ll grow back. You can’t bring back someone’s life.”
The agency also verified tornadoes in Berks County and Morris County, N.J.
During the supercell thunderstorm outbreak on July 29, a total of 10 tornadoes were confirmed in the office’s coverage area, consisting of Delaware and most of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
This article contains a correction. The tornado’s path ended in Hilltown Township near the Bedminister Township border.