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Fierce storms leave thousands without power in New Jersey

TRENTON — More than 6,000 customers remain without power Saturday afternoon after severe thunderstorms swept across New Jersey.

The storms moved across the state around dawn.

“Quite unexpectedly, these storms exploded in strength. Radar indicated areas of damaging 70+ mph winds and rotation that led to Tornado Warnings issued in Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Burlington and Camden counties,” New Jersey 101.5 Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said.

In Howell, a video taken by a man at the Home Depot on Route 9 showed what appeared to be a funnel of wind in the parking lot.

Warning: Video contains profanity

Photos on Facebook show damage on Trenton Street in Browns Mills with several trees and wires down. The National Weather Service reported that the storm brought down nine utility poles.

JCP&L spokeswoman Christy Hajoway said crews are on sorting through the damage. She could not give an estimate as to when the poles would be replaced and power restored.

The National Weather Service said it was a microburst with a maximum wind speed of 75 mph, not a tornado, that caused damage in Browns Mills.

“Several signs point to this being straight line wind damage. All the trees were pointed to the southeast as the wind came in from the west and northwest. Also, the damage was concentrated at first but the spanned outward from a path in both directions typical of a microburst,” the NWS wrote in a statement.

Camden County’s Office of Emergency Management assessed damage from the storm with public works crews removing downed trees and branches. “Right now our OEM has personnel on the ground working with municipal officials to assess the total damage in the area. The worst of this storm seemed to be localized to the northern end of the county effecting Collingswood and Haddon Township.” Young, liaison to the Camden County Office of Emergency Management said in a statement.

Crews are also working at Cooper River, Newton Lake and Haddon Lake Park to clear potential hazards from walking paths.

Howell Police said the National Weather Service is using video of the storm at the Home Depot on Route 9 at West Farms Rd to determine if a tornado touched down.  Two unoccupied cars were lifted into the air, clothing bins tossed, a billboard sign ripped and building facades damaged in that area, according to police.

Listener Adam Kozlowski sent pictures from the corner of Route 33 and Prodelin Way in Monroe in Middlesex County, an area that had been under a tornado warning. He reported seeing several damaged trees, including two that were uprooted and left leaning against a building.

The NWS also reported several buildings were damaged and cars overturned in the Freewood Acres section of Howell.  A tree fell onto a house in Deptford, and two large trees came down in Hightstown.

As of 11:30 a.m. the outages broke down as follows:

Several spinouts blocked lanes on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Route 78, but did not cause full roadway closures.

Fallen trees were reported by New Jersey Fast Traffic on Route 31 in Hopewell and Route 70 in Cherry Hill.

Powerful storms Saturday AM for NJ: 70 mph winds, tornados possible

Newark Liberty and Philadelphia airports reported 30-minute departure delays as of 8 a.m., according to

Service on NJ Transit’s RiverLINE was suspended for a time due to flooding in Camden.

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