AccuWeather Alert Week: Experts notice increased number of tornado warnings for our region

Brittany Boyer Image
Wednesday, June 5, 2024
AccuWeather Alert Week: Increased tornado warnings for the region
AccuWeather Alert Week: Experts notice increased number of tornado warnings for our region

MULLICA HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It has been a very active spring for severe weather across the country. So far, in our area, we have been spared any major outbreaks.

In recent years, our region has become more accustomed to experiencing severe weather, including tornadoes.

Nearly three years ago an EF-3 tornado hit Mullica Hill. It was the strongest tornado in New Jersey in more than 30 years.

Businesses in the area that were impacted by the tornado still remember that day vividly.

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Those living along the Delaware and New Jersey coastline need to be prepared and aware of what could be a nailbiting several months ahead, experts say.

"We were just like standing on the driveway, crying, and just like is this a sign from God? Like we're done. What do we do? We have cows pinned, there are cows wandering around. Everything was gone," Marianne Eachus said.

On September 1, 2021, the Wellacrest Farm in Mullica Hill became unrecognizable. An EF-3 tornado packing 150mph winds tore through the largest dairy farm in New Jersey.

The tornado was on the ground for over 12 miles. About two dozen homes were destroyed with around 100 others were damaged. It was a day that brought an outbreak of seven tornadoes to our area in one day.

"Almost three years later still, every day is a challenge. You know, you just put one foot in front of the other and just keep going," Eachus said.

Over the years, Wellacrest Farms has been able to rebuild with the help of the community. The farm estimates the damage has cost them nearly $3 million.

WATCH | One year later: New Jersey's largest dairy farm rebuilds after devastating tornado

Wellacrest Farms is thanking the community that helped it rebuild from the rubble following the September 2021 tornado.

"We've just seen summer after summer of very active weather with a lot of tornado warnings and a lot of confirmed tornadoes," said Meteorologist Paul Fitzsimmons of the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

The Storm Events Database through the National Centers For Environmental Information shows that the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly issued 162 tornado warnings from 2019-2023.

The period of five years prior the office issued 43 tornado warnings from 2014-2018. Fitzsimmons credits the strong team of meteorologists in his office and better technology.

"We have a higher resolution radar than what we had years ago so that makes it a little easier or more likely that we're going to detect tornadic circulations that hadn't been detected in the past," Fitzsimmons said.

For residents and business owners like Eachus, she said she will always take tornado warnings seriously.

"The alerts take them seriously because I never did. I was like oh there's never tornadoes in Mullica Hill and then boom we had one," she said.