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August 08, 2023

Philly region dodges tornado threat, but 35,000 people still without power

Monday night's severe thunderstorm downed trees and postponed the Phillies game, but spared residents more extensive damage

Weather Thunderstorms
Philadelphia Storms Tornado @NWS_MOUNTHOLLY/TWITTER

Severe thunderstorms passed through the Philadelphia area on Monday night, leaving downed trees and power outages in their wake.

In the end, one of the storm's worst casualties may have been the Phillies game. 

Severe thunderstorms passing through the Philadelphia region Monday night knocked out power for 100,000 residents and downed its share of trees and power lines, but largely spared residents more catastrophic damage. The Phillies game originally slated for Monday night was rescheduled as part of a single-admission doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. 

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As of Tuesday morning, about 36,000 PECO customers were still without power, and damage from the storms continued to affect mass transit on Amtrak and SEPTA. In New Jersey, only a few hundred PSE&G customers lacked power.

As intense thunderstorms brewed west of the Philadelphia region on Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Philadelphia, eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware. Though a funnel cloud reportedly was seen near Coatesville, no tornado was officially confirmed.  

Still, the weather grew harsh as dark storm clouds passed over the region and unleashed a barrage of rain, thunder, lightning and wind gusts that reached 55 mph in the Philadelphia suburbs. Reports of downed trees – like one that obscured a lane of traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway – and other damage proliferated as the storm system rolled through the area. 

For many, the impending arrival of a severe storm system in the Delaware Valley stirred recollections of recent extreme weather events in the area. In April, four tornadoes touched down in New Jersey, knocking out power for 15,000 residents and badly damaging the exterior of the Adventure Crossing USA recreational sports facility in Jackson Township. New Jersey suffered even more extensive damage in 2021, when tornadoes stemming from Hurricane Ida damaged homes and blew out windows in Mullica Hill in Gloucester County. 

More recently, flooding in Bucks County killed seven people, including a 2-year-old girl whose body was found 32 miles away from where she was swept away by the flood waters. Though Monday night's storms were intense, no major flooding was reported in the region.