Tornado outbreak: 9 twisters confirmed in Philadelphia region

The twister that hit the Bensalem/Trevose area had wind speeds up to 140 mph.

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Monday, August 2, 2021
Tornado damage across Philadelphia region
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The damage from tornadoes and severe storms stretched from the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania to the beaches in New Jersey.

BENSALEM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The National Weather Service confirmed on Sunday that a ninth tornado touched down in the Philadelphia region during severe weather that struck earlier this week.

The storms generated twisters across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including one that hit Northeast Philadelphia and a powerful EF-3 in the Bensalem/Trevose area in Bucks County.

The full list:

  • EF0 in Northeast Philadelphia (60-80 mph winds)
  • EF1 in Plumstead Township, Bucks County (90 mph winds)
  • EF1 in Cedar Bridge, Ocean County (100-105 mph winds)
  • EF1 in Windsor, Mercer County (105 mph winds)
  • EF2 Waretown/Barnegat Light, Ocean County (115 mph winds)
  • EF2 New Hope/Ewing (115 mph winds)
  • EF3 in Bensalem/Trevose Bucks County (140 mph winds)
  • EF0 in Lehigh County (85 mph winds)
  • EF1 in Weisenberg, Pa. (90 mph winds)

The National Weather Services says one 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 twister had peak wind gusts of 140 mph. It was one of more than a half-dozen tornadoes to hit the region.

Investigators from the NWS said the most intense damage was to a Faulkner car dealership and adjacent mobile home park, where the Action Cam and Chopper 6 found widespread destruction.

The twister that hit the Bensalem and Trevose areas left six people injured, officials said.

RELATED: Video shows Faulkner car dealership being hit by tornado in Trevose, Pa.

As of Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service has confirmed nine tornadoes in our region, including the Bensalem/Trevose twister.

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.

Action News obtained video from Shahzada Shakeel, who was inside the business as the tornado struck.

You can see customers and employees huddled in a back room for protection - then the lights go out. A short time later, everyone emerges to survey the unbelievable damage.

RELATED: Video shows Faulkner car dealership being hit by tornado in Trevose, Pa.

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.

"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.

WATCH: Tornado damage across Philadelphia region

"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.

Video from the Ring camera on Theresa Knapp's home caught what appears to be a funnel cloud as the tornado moved through.

She wasn't at home at the time, but was with her husband at the nearby fire department.

"I just saw the debris. It was just flying everywhere, and he's screaming at me like 'run, run, run' and we just ran into the building," she said.

RELATED: Bucks County mobile home park struck by EF-3 tornado: "I just saw debris"

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'

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.