Update 9:00 a.m.

The National Weather Service is sending a storm survey team to lower Cape May County to assess yesterday's storm damage.

They will determine what caused the damage, straight line winds or a tornado, and estimate how fast the winds were.

Their findings will be available later on Wednesday.


Severe storms swept across far South Jersey Tuesday afternoon, producing winds of at least 80 mph and a possible tornado that toppled trees on utility poles, homes and vehicles.

Cape May County was the hardest hit, with about one-third of the county without electricity during the height of the storm. The strong winds flipped over a plane at the Cape May Airport in Lower Township.

As of Tuesday night, about 32,000 homes in Atlantic City Electric’s service territory remained without power, the utility reported.

No injuries were reported, but at least 30 homes were damaged, said Cape May County Emergency Management Director Martin Pagliughi.

He said Lower Township, the southern section of Middle Township and parts of the Wildwoods appeared to have been the hardest hit by the thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service in Mouth Holly issued a tornado warning for southern Cape May County at 3:40 p.m. based on radar projections, said Jim Bunker of the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

The National Weather Service or the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management has not yet received any official reports or visual confirmation of a tornado touchdown.

Bunker said that a decision will be made on Wednesday whether to send a storm survey team to the areas that were hardest hit. He says that a team of meteorologists would then estimate how fast the winds were, and also determine if the damage was caused by straight-line winds or by a tornado.

Meanwhile, utility crews continued to assess the damage on Tuesday night, said Frank Tedesco, spokesman for Atlantic City Electric.

He said 36,000 Atlantic City Electric customers were without power during the peak of the storm.

Tedesco says crews planned to work through the night to restore power.

“Because all are outages are centralized in Cape May County instead of spread out over our entire coverage area, it helps us be more effective at channeling resources,” Tedesco said.

Tedesco provided no estimate as to when electricity would be restored to all impacted customers.

Emergency responders were flooded with calls as the storms barreled through.

The Wildwood Fire Department responded to 31 incidents over a two hour period, including structure fires, trees and wires down and a boater in distress. The boater had been caught out on the bay as the storm arrived, but safely made it to shore with no injury, said Wildwood Fire Department Chief Daniel Speigel.

Tornadoes are rare in South Jersey, especially in Cape May County.

The last notable tornado in lower Cape May County occurred on August 27, 1971, when an F-2 tornado with winds over 100 miles per hour touched down in Cape May.

Throughout the southern part of the county, downed and uprooted trees were seen throughout the area as residents started to clean debris from their lawns and streets.

A house that was under construction on Susquehanna Avenue in Wildwood lost part of its roof. Police and firefighters were on the scene assessing the damage.

In Lower Township, a tree took down a telephone pole and badly damaged another at the intersection of Seashore Road and Mayflower Avenue.

Officials at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry reported no damage to the ferries.

Wednesday is expected to be a sunny, dry, and quiet day as storm cleanup continues.

However, more severe thunderstorms are possible across South Jersey on Thursday.

Per Atlantic City Electric: 34,800 customers without power in Cape May County. (31% of county customers.)

@KathyOrrFOX29@FOX29philly@CapeMayBird@HeraldNews@ACPress_Hughes sent to me by an employee Star Ave in Villas pic.twitter.com/ypS5vGVREu

From Brian Cunniff in the Wildwoods. Catamaran tossed from storm's high winds. pic.twitter.com/zABVazl9J8

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