Land spout tornado causes damage in Lawrence Township

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A land spout tornado touched down briefly on June 14 on Brunswick Pike, damaging the roof of the Circle Branch U.S. Post Office at 2601 Brunswick Pike and also overturning cars in the parking lot, according to the Lawrence Township Police Department.

The land spout tornado, which was reported at 6 p.m., had a maximum wind speed of 80 miles per hour, police said.

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It began near the Marwa Service Center and the Conoco gas station near the intersection of Johnson Road and Brunswick Pike, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) – Mount Holly office. A few trees were uprooted and some softwood trees were snapped.

A couple of the trees fell on the service station, the NWS said. The gas station canopy was not damaged, but a large sign behind the building was snapped. Two large clothes donation bins were tossed into a brushy area.

The Circle Branch U.S. Post Office suffered minor structural damage, including lifting of some of the metal roofing. An HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) unit was blown off the roof of the Post Office building.

About a half-dozen vehicles in the Post Office parking lot were flipped over, and a few parking lot signs were blown over or picked up and carried abut 250 yards, the NWS said. A large tree in front of the building was uprooted, and a few trees had several limbs blown down.

The land spout tornado, which had a 60-yard-wide path, dissipated after it struck the Post Office building, the NWS said. It lasted about 60 seconds.

A typical tornado comes from a supercell thunderstorm and is characterized by a funnel that is wider at the top, near the storm cloud, and narrower at the ground, according to www.weatherandradar.com.

A land spout, which is similar to a tornado, forms on the ground. It looks like a cylinder, not a funnel, according to www.weatherandradar.com. Land spouts are smaller and weaker than tornadoes.

The National Weather Service’s Mount Holly office sent representatives to survey the damage, police said. The NWS observers were assisted by the New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management, the Mercer County Office of Emergency Management and the Lawrence Township Police Department.

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