Tornado Touches Down at NJ Building, Flips Car, Damages Roof

(NJ Office of Emergency Management)

A weak tornado touched down at a commercial building in New Jersey on Saturday, flipping over a car and causing roof damage before dissipating, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

Surveillance video showed the EF-0 “landspout” tornado with winds up to 70 miles per hour touching down at the Mount Laurel building shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

“It touched down in the parking lot of the building, flipped the car and moved over the building, then dissipated when it was over the building. It was very brief,” meteorologist Alex Staarmann of the weather service office in Mount Holly said.

The tornado pulled back portions of roofing material and also tore two air conditioning units from it, the weather service said in a written statement. Ceiling tiles were “dislodged” inside, it said.

“Initially, I thought it was a hailstorm, then the ceiling tiles started to lift up and something big was coming through. It was like a freight train,” said Robert Deal, service manager at Castle Windows, told the Burlington County Times. Twenty-five to 30 people in the building were evacuated, Deal said. The gas was shut off as a precaution, authorities said.

The Mount Laurel fire department posted surveillance video of the car flipping over and separate video of a funnel cloud with cars driving past.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies an EF-0 as a weak tornado with 65 to 85 mile-per-hour winds.

A landspout spins from the ground during a thunderstorm rather than dropping from a cloud, meteorologist Dean Iovino said. Such formations are difficult to pick up on Doppler radar because they are close to the ground and below a radar beam, he said.

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