NWS details 8-minute wrath of EF3 storm

Editor’s Note: The following story is based on an updated National Weather Service damage survey report released Saturday evening. It provided the most detailed account of the EF3 tornado that hit Bensalem on Thursday night. The Mount Holly, New Jersey-based weather service had five survey teams investigating damage reports from the Lehigh Valley to the Jersey shore as a result of Thursday’s storms. They confirmed nine separate tornadoes, including three in Bucks County. 

Eight minutes.  

That’s how long it took a rare EF3 tornado to spread a 3.5-mile swath of destruction that began in northeast Philadelphia before jumping the county border into Bensalem where it did the most damage.

It was 7:04 p.m. Thursday when the tornado touched down near Southampton Road, Kelvin Avenue and Trevose Road.  It uprooted and blew down large limbs from a few softwood and hardwood trees before crossing County Line Road into the Trevose section of Bensalem.  

The path continued between Trevose Road in Bucks County and Peyton Street in Philadelphia damaging more trees before crossing Lukens Street, heading briefly into the northern tip of the city’s Poquessing Valley Park in before crossing back into Bensalem.

More tornado coverage:The night three tornadoes ripped through Bucks

Next hit was the Beechwood Estates in Trevose, a neighborhood between Somerton and Trevose roads, where it caused minor damage to homes and blew down several sections of vinyl fencing.  

During its first few minutes of life, the twister had not reached its top speed of 140 miles per hour.  But things would pick up as it approached Somerton Road in Trevose.

Anette Rentie

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