Hurricane watch, thunderstorms in the forecast
A line of strong thunderstorms that struck the area Monday evening at high speed triggered tornado watches and flood warnings, downed trees and wires, and knocked out power to more than 135,000 people.
Tornado warnings were issued in parts of Philadelphia — where thousands of outages were reported — and in northern Chester County and parts of Montgomery County. The National Weather Service said a funnel cloud was seen near Coatesville.
The weather service has received reports of damage, but no tornado has been confirmed yet, said Dean Eveno, chief meteorologist at the Mount Holly office.
A 55 mph gust was measured in Glenside, Montgomery County, and several downed trees were reported throughout the area. A fallen tree blocked an eastbound lane of the Schuylkill Highway near King of Prussia.
Heavy rains have prompted a flood warning for Chester and Delaware counties and northern Delaware. However, it was later raised, likely as a result of how quickly the strong line was moving. “Once it got to our area, it kind of accelerated,” Eveno said.
The threat of a storm led to Phillies game postponed against the Washington Nationals, which will be set up as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday.
This turned out to be a wise decision, because storms were at their peak at the start of Monday’s game scheduled for 6:40 p.m.
Meteorologists warned over the weekend of the serious threat, and on Monday the state Storm Prediction Center issued a tornado warning for Philadelphia and all of eastern Pennsylvania, southern Jersey and Delaware.
Sunshine was plentiful across much of the area Monday, but not particularly welcome, Yovino said. He said this additional energy helped “further destabilize the situation.”
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The Philadelphia area had one of its stormiest Julys on record, with the National Weather Service issuing 123 severe thunderstorm warnings throughout its service area, which includes all of Delaware and most of New Jersey. That’s the second-highest number since they started keeping records in 1986, behind only July 2021, when the service issued 132 warnings. The average number of thunderstorm warnings for July is 47.
Thunderstorms were officially observed at Philadelphia International Airport on 15 different days in July, five more than in 2021, according to weather service data. The long-term average for this month is 5.8.
Monday’s thunderstorms were the first in the past eight days. It was the longest streak without a thunderstorm in Philadelphia since May, according to weather service records.
On the bright side, the weather forecast looks nice for Tuesday and Wednesday, with temperatures in the mid-80s and a slight chance of rain. The next possible storm is expected to be Thursday, when isolated thunderstorms may develop later in the day.
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