Pa., NJ, Del. sees 600 percent increase in number of tornadoes in last 5 years
PHILADELPHIA - The number of tornadoes across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware has drastically increased in the last five years. We are now getting 600 percent more tornadoes.
Growing up in West Chester, I remember it was pretty rare for our area to get a tornado. But, that's changed.
From 2012 through 2017, we had eight tornadoes across the Delaware Valley. Since 2018, we've had 49 tornadoes.
Climate change is, in part, to blame for that 600 percent increase.
We are seeing more days well above average. The much warmer weather interacting with cooler weather, more typical for the season, creates stronger storms.
We are also seeing more storms on days we get strong storms. This explains why we're now getting tornado outbreaks like this past Saturday and Ida's tornadoes in 2021.
The average tornado wind speed has also increased as the number of tornadoes in the Delaware Valley has risen.
Now, it's typical to have wind speeds around 100 MPH when we get a tornado.
While 100 MPH winds won't cause major damage to a typical home, debris caught in those 100 mph winds can break windows.
100 mph winds can also uproot big trees.
So, if you have a big tree near your home, a tornado now typical for our region could lead to a tree falling on your home.
This is why it's worth going to your basement, or a room in the center of your house if you don't have a basement, any time you get a tornado warning for your area.
When tornadoes get stronger, their winds alone can start causing major damage to a typical home. We're talking wind speeds of 110 mph or more, which is an EF2 tornado. Winds that strong can start snapping trees at their trunks instead of uprooting them.
By the way, the EF stands for "E"nhanced "F"ujita damage scale.
A tornado's wind speeds are determined after it happened based on the damage it leaves behind.