🌪️The "landspout" tornado moved north along Business Route 1 in Lawrence

🌪️A half-dozen cars were flipped over in the post office parking lot

🌪️A water spout was also detected and photographed in Barnegat Bay


LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP — A tornado that lasted about a minute and a waterspout at the Jersey Shore came from the strong line of thunderstorms that crossed New Jersey late Friday afternoon.

Several vehicles were flipped onto their side in the parking lot of the Lawrence Township post office on Business Route 1 thanks to an EF-0 "landspout" with winds of 80 mph that lasted about a minute, according to a survey team from the National Weather Service's Mount Holly office. The AC unit was blown off the roof and a tree ripped out of the ground as it moved through

"A landspout is basically a special kind of tornado that forms in 'the wrong spot' - directly from the cloud base with no widespread rotation," NJ 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. "A 'quick spin-up' is the best way to describe it, which exactly fit the expectations of Friday's minimal tornado threat."

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Damaged vehicles being towed from the Lawrence Post Office parking lot 6/14/24
Damaged vehicles being towed from the Lawrence Post Office parking lot 6/14/24 (NJ Public Safety News Alerts)

Brief path of damage

The survey team determined the tornado developed at 5:59 p.m. near the Marwa service center and Conoco gas station near the intersection of Johnson Road and Business Route 1. Several trees fell on the Marwan station. A large sign was snapped in half and two large clothes donation bins were thrown into a brush area.

The storm then moved northeast through a small wooded area into the post office parking lot where it turned six vehicles onto their side and carried signs 250 yards across the highway. Video taken from the Auto Lenders dealership across the highway and viewed by the survey team show the landspout had a distinct circulation as the damage was occuring. The storm then dissipated.

Additional damage to The Fortis Institution across from the post office off Magnetic Drive was determined by the survey team to have been caused by straight line winds not associated with the landspout. Those winds displaced three HVAC units, according to the survey team.

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Map shows locations affected by landspout tornado 6/14/24
Map shows locations affected by landspout tornado 6/14/24 (Canva)

Waterspout at the Jersey Shore

A waterspout was also reported in Barnegat Bay just north of the Mathis Bridge between Toms River and Lavallette around 7 p.m. Zarrow said radar picked up a concentrated area of 70+ mph winds. The National Weather Service said there was no damage reported from the storm.

The Lawrence landspout is the first reported tornado in New Jersey in 2024 and the first since August, according to Zarrow. There were 18 tornadoes in New Jersey in 2023 tied for the 2nd most active year since record-keeping began in 1950.

The first tornado of 2023 was in Lawrence and West Windsor. It was an EF-2 with an estimated windspeed of 115 mph.

Radar image of waterspout in Barnegat Bay north of the Mathis Bridge 6/14/24
Radar image of waterspout in Barnegat Bay north of the Mathis Bridge 6/14/24 (Radarscope)

Dan Zarrow and Chris Rollins contributed to this report

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