Weather service probing reports of N.J. funnel clouds

Posted: September 05, 2012

The National Weather Service is investigating reports of funnel clouds, downed trees, and fallen power lines in parts of Camden County, where a tornado warning was issued this evening.

The Westin Hotel in Mount Laurel was evacuated briefly after lightning struck near the pool room. By 8 p.m. the evacuation was lifted, but power had not been fully restored, a Westin employee said.

There were numerous reports of funnel clouds touching down in the areas of Moorestown and Maple Shade early Tuesday evening. AccuWeather.com reported that trees were downed in Mount Ephraim, Camden County.

Flash-flood warnings remain in effect through Wednesday for the Philadelphia area after the heavy downpours.

"The showers and thunderstorms are expected to produce rainfall totals of an inch or two in as little as 15 to 30 minutes," the weather service said in a statement earlier Tuesday.

The Greater Philadelphia region was on alert from the afternoon into the evening as flood warnings were repeatedly extended, but little serious damage was reported. Brief flooding was seen at 43d Street and Baltimore Avenue, and Cobbs Creek Parkway will remain closed between 60th and 67th Streets until Wednesday evening.

The storm also caused small-scale power outages across the city. On Armstrong Street near Pennypack Park, 28 customers were without power for about an hour and a half. "It was either a lightning strike or it could have been the wind and the rain" that damaged equipment on top of a power pole, said Peco spokesman Ben Armstrong.

In Boothwyn, Delaware County, officials were called to help three people, including an infant, trapped in a pickup truck in high water at Larkin and Woodstream Roads.

Flooding also halted RiverLine light rail service between the Water Rand and Waterfront Entertainment Centers in Camden and buses were being used to carry SEPTA Route 102 trolley riders from McDade Boulevard to the end of the line.

Officials urged motorists not to drive through flooded roadways.

In the Philadelphia area, two to four inches of additional rain is expected before the slow-moving system moves out Wednesday evening.

Because of the weather forecast, Hero Thrill Show organizers have postponed their Kickoff Rally from Wednesday until Sept. 12 at 11:30 a.m. at 19th and Market Streets.

About an inch of rain fell in an hour at Northeast Airport between about 4 and 5 Tuesday morning.

More than two inches fell Sunday in many towns west of the city, with West Chester reporting 3.72 inches by 7:45 p.m., and Chester Heights in Delaware County reporting 3.55 inches by 5:30 p.m., according to weather service spotters.

Less than a half-inch, though, was tallied for all of Sunday at Philadelphia International Airport and at Trenton, while Atlantic City measured a bit over an inch.

For more on the forecast, go to http://weather.philly.com/US/PA/Philadelphia.html.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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