EF-3 tornado with winds up to 140 mph hit Bensalem/Trevose area, National Weather Service says

Around 7:20 p.m. a confirmed tornado was spotted near the Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem.

Friday, July 30, 2021
Tornado rips through car dealership in Trevose, Bucks Co.
A car dealership in Trevose, Bucks County is picking up the pieces following a tornado.

BENSALEM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The National Weather Services says the tornado that hit the Bensalem and Trevose areas in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on Thursday night has been classified as a powerful EF-3.

The means the storm had peak wind gusts of 140 mph.

"The storm damage survey team mentioned the most intense damage was to car dealerships and an adjacent mobile home park," the National Weather Service said.


A line of severe weather left behind a path of destruction after at least four tornadoes touched down in the tri-state area Thursday night.

A confirmed tornado swept through the Bensalem/Trevose area in Bucks County, leaving six people injured.

Two others touched down in Waretown and the Cedar Bridge area of Barnegat Township, New Jersey.

Another tornado was confirmed in the Delaware Valley by the debris field on radar from New Hope to Trenton. A possible tornado also came through Weisenberg Township, Lehigh County.

Action News Meteorologist Karen Rogers explains, typically, tornadoes in our area are not on the ground long enough to collect enough debris that they can be spotted on radar. However, three such tornadoes occurred on Thursday.

Chopper 6 was over the area Friday morning:

Chopper 6 surveyed the damage left by a tornado in Trevose.

Fred Harran, the director of public safety for the Bensalem Township Police Department, said the tornado touched down along the Old Lincoln Highway corridor near the Neshaminy Mall. A car dealership was right in the storm's path.

"We heard this loud bang in the middle of the parking lot and it blew right through the windows. It blew through everything," said Victor Rivera.

Rivera was inside the Faulkner Mazda dealership in Trevose on the 4400 block of Street Road when the tornado touched down.

The Action Cam was on the scene after severe weather swept through Feasterville-Trevose, Bucks County.

Cars were seen flipped in parking lots and a roofing structure was torn off the property.

"This was a devastating tornado that came through as a lot of structural damage in this area," said Harran.

WATCH: Tornado damage across Philadelphia region

The damage from tornadoes and severe storms stretched from the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania to the beaches in New Jersey.

The National Weather Service has not yet determined the strength of the twister.

"My mom got under the table and I just kind of held her in my arms," Rivera said. "I watched the glass implode and the ceiling kind of caved in from there."

The windows of the nearby Volvo dealership were also blown out, and the part of the roof lifted off the Buick building.

First responders aided employees and customers on-site while firefighters secured the buildings and PECO crews rushed to turn off the gas.

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"Just look at a bomb went off, I mean it's gone," said Harran of the damage.

Faulkner Automotive Group issued the following statement on Friday:

"Our first priority is tending to our employees and our customers to ensure their safety and well-being. While we ensure our Faulkner family is safe, we are taking measures to ensure the immediate safety, security and clean-up efforts of the dealership campus. We would like to thank all of the first responders who have been so helpful. We truly appreciate the outpouring of support and concern from our community. We will overcome this, repair all damage and return to serving our community as quickly as possible."

Behind the dealerships, parts of the Penn Valley Mobile Home Park were nearly leveled. The storm uprooted trees and brought down power lines near David Paniagua's family mobile home.

"Literally trees were down everywhere. There was skirting down everywhere, it looked like honestly the movie Twister," said Paniagua

There are multiple road closures in effect until further notice. The current list includes a complete closure of Street Road from Richlieu Road to Trevose Road; Old Lincoln Highway from Route 1 to Bristol Road; The area of Linconia Park has also been closed to all traffic.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Neshaminy High School at 2001 Old Lincoln Highway. As of 2 a.m., they report four residents were spending the night at the shelter.

Chopper 6 was over Bensalem, Pa. where a line of severe weather left a path of destruction.

Any additional residents that need a place to stay can come to the shelter at any time. The shelter will also remain open on Friday so residents affected by the tornado can get access to resources and information from the Red Cross.

Anyone who needs shelter can call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or call Bensalem Police at (215) 633-3719.

The Red Cross had a team of disaster workers gathered at the Neshaminy Mall, working with government partners and affected residents to determine what their needs were after the damaging tornado.

SEE ALSO: Bucks County residents hunkered down during storm: 'It sounded like a bomb went off'

The powerful storm blew through Bucks County, Pennsylvania before crossing over to the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.

Thirty minutes north, Matt Maximuck, who owns a 100-acre farm in Buckingham, said the storm sounded like a freight train.

"It blew the roof off my barn and as you can see, shattered the glass windows on my greenhouses. It was a mess," said Maximuck.

In nearby Plumstead, a giant 50 to 60-foot tree came crashing down in a garage as a frightened homeowner sat nearby.

The National Weather Service says crews will be conducting several storm surveys across the region Friday.

A line of severe weather left behind a path of destruction after at least one tornado touched down in the Philadelphia region Thursday night.