Guzzo’s Grip on Weather (08/01/21): July 29th Tornado Outbreak

Weather Wisdom

Hello everyone! I’m meteorologist Nick Guzzo, and this is Guzzo’s Grip on Weather. This is where we talk weather and climate news and have some fun! This week we are talking about the severe weather that impacted PA and New Jersey on July 29th. This was quite the impactful event which resulted in at least 14 confirmed tornadoes so far with 11 occurring in PA. The 11 tornadoes in Pennsylvania marks the fifth largest tornado outbreak in the state. You might be wondering what caused this event to happen though because tornadoes of course do happen in these states, but this was quite the notable event. July 29 started off clear as an area of high pressure sat off the East Coast which allowed for these clear conditions. A warm front started to advance into the region. All the sunlight in the beginning of the day allowed for the atmosphere to destabilize and here comes the trigger of the severe weather. This warm front brought this warm moist air mass with it. As a result, you can think of this warm front as the trigger mechanism as it was a source of lift in the atmosphere. Due to the combination of these ingredients, severe weather developed. Southeastern PA and Southern New Jersey were under an enhanced risk for severe weather which is a level 3 out of 5. Throughout the afternoon, warnings were issued for the event that was unfolding. As I said earlier, at least 14 tornadoes have been confirmed to touchdown so far. One of the most notable tornadoes was an EF3 tornado with winds of 140 mph that struck Bucks County. Major damage occurred to a car dealership and a nearby mobile home park. This was the first EF3 tornado in PA since 2004. Also, a particularly dangerous situation warnings were issued by the NWS in Mount Holly, New Jersey for two of the tornado warned cells. This was the first time this NWS office issued these types of warnings. Along with this EF3 tornado, there were two EF2 tornadoes, five EF1 tornadoes, and six EF0 tornadoes. At least five people were injured during this event. All of this proves that strong tornadoes are possible in PA and New Jersey, and this is not necessarily a rare occurrence and further emphasizes why you need to listen to warnings when they are issued.  

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