Severe thunderstorms erupted across parts of the area back on Sunday, and the thunderstorms were strong enough to produce damage in some spots. The National Weather Service has investigated two areas of concentrated wind damage...the first of which occurred off Burts Road in Kirkwood, and the second of which occurred on Riley Road in West Windsor. Both damage areas consisted of snapped or uprooted trees, but they were both caused by different meteorological phenomena.
The wind damage that occurred off Burts Road in Kirkwood was determined to be caused by a tornado...an EF-0 on the new "Enhanced Fujita" scale with winds of approximately 75 mph. While investigating the damage site, National Weather Service meteorologists noticed hints of twisting motion in the damaged trees, and several trees were blown down in different directions. This is very typical of tornado damage due to the changeable and chaotic winds associated with such storms.
The wind damage that occurred on Riley Road in West Windsor, on the other hand, was determined to be "straight-line" wind damage...and not the result of a tornado. Straight-line wind damage is the result of winds blowing in the same direction, and there typically is no evidence of twisting motion as there was at the Kirkwood damage site. While the damage did include several very large trees that were completely uprooted, all of the trees were blown down in the same direction. Wind speeds were estimated to have reached 90 mph!
For more information on Sunday's severe weather, log onto the National Weather Service website at www.erh.noaa.gov/er/bgm.