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Yes, tornado counts in Pa. and N.J. are abnormally high in 2021

Nationally, tornado numbers actually are below average so far this year.

Storm damage after the tornado hit in Trevose, Pa., on July 29 during a "rare" tornado outbreak.
Storm damage after the tornado hit in Trevose, Pa., on July 29 during a "rare" tornado outbreak.Read moreTYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer

The year-to-date annual tornado numbers are running below normal nationally, no thanks to what has been happening in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Both states already have well-exceeded their twister averages for an entire year, bumped up by the “rare” supercell outbreak of July 29 that included one with Tornado Alley-like 140 mph winds, and last week’s Fred-related twisters, one of which traveled almost nine miles.

So far in 2021, 19 tornadoes have touched down on Pennsylvania soil, three above the 30-year annual normal and eight more than what would be the average total through August, according to the government’s Storm Prediction Center.

» READ MORE: A tornado outbreak killed 64 people in Pennsylvania 35 years ago. We still know terrifyingly little about the storms.

Typically, only one would have touched down in Jersey by the end of this month; so far, eight have, which is quadruple the annual average. Two others have visited Delaware.

In a comprehensive analysis and summary report posted this week, the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly said that the July 29 event, which added 10 twisters to the three-state totals, was ignited by the complex interactions of upper-air and surface systems that created an “unusually favorable” environment for powerful thunderstorms.

In other words, the atmospheric fuse was lit, and not even daytime cloud cover — which can reduce storm-fueling heat energy — could mute the explosions. The result was what it called a “rare tornado outbreak” in the region.

Not included on the list was a likely tornadic waterspout — a vertically spinning cloud of air and water — that traveled “for tens of miles over the Atlantic.”

» READ MORE: The heat from Center City’s buildings and streets might be giving the rains a little extra juice

Recent tornadoes in the Philly area

Here is a summary of the recent tornadoes that touched down in the region. Remarkably, no fatalities occurred, but five injuries were reported in one of the July 29 tornadoes.

July 29

Somerton section of Philadelphia-Bensalem, Bucks County

  1. Rating: EF-3, estimated peak wind 140 mph

  2. Time: 7:04 to 7:12 p.m.

  3. Path length: 3.5 miles

  4. Path width: 530 yards

Plumstead Township, Bucks County

  1. Rating: EF-1, peak wind 90 mph

  2. Time: 5:40-5:45 p.m.

  3. Path length: 2.6 miles

  4. Path width: 70 yards

New Hope, Bucks County to Hopewell, Mercer County

  1. Rating: EF-2, peak wind 120 mph

  2. Time: 5:59-6:14 p.m.

  3. Path length: 6.4 miles

  4. Path width: 40 yards

Northeast Philadelphia

  1. Rating: EF-0, peak wind, 80 mph

  2. Time: 7:07-7:08 p.m.

  3. Path length: 0.46 miles

  4. Path width: 40 yards

Woodland Township, Burlington County-Wells Mills, Ocean County

  1. Rating: EF-1, peak wind 105 mph

  2. Time: 8:42-8:51 p.m.

  3. Path length: 6.6 miles

  4. Path width: 250 yards

Barnegat-High Bar Harbor, Ocean County

  1. Rating: EF-2, peak wind 115 to 120 mph

  2. Time: 9:03 to 9:13 p.m.

  3. Path length: 4.2 miles

  4. Path width: 75 yards

Jackson Township, Ocean County

  1. Rating: EF-0, peak wind 80 mph

  2. Time: 8:04-8:08 p.m.

  3. Path length: 0.76 miles

  4. Path width, 80 yards

Aug. 19

Hatfield Township, Montgomery County-Hilltown Township, Bucks County.

  1. Rating: EF-1, peak wind 105 mph

  2. Time: 12:25-12:40 a.m.

  3. Path length: 8.77 miles

  4. Path width: 140 yards