Are tornadoes becoming more common around New Jersey?

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New Jersey saw five different tornado warnings this week – with an actual tornado touching down in Sussex County Tuesday evening.

The final week of May also saw over 200 tornadoes develop nationwide. Does this mean more tornadoes are in store for the Garden State? Experts say most likely not.

“No, no that's simply a rare event in New Jersey. This was the first tornado of the year, a relatively weak one, and fortunately one that didn't cause injuries,” says state climatologist Dr. David Robinson.

But Robinson says that despite the rarity of a tornado, when they do strike the outcome can be deadly.

“As a matter of fact there was a deadly tornado in New Brunswick that killed around five people we believe. The most deadly tornado in New Jersey history in 1834,” Robinson says.

New Jersey averages around four tornadoes a year. The peak of severe weather season in the state is in July, but tornadoes have been reported as late as November in the state.

Robinson says that while tornadoes are rare – New Jersey residents should use caution around more common weather conditions.

“It’s not just about tornadoes in New Jersey. It's about lightning, which kills on average one or two people a year. It's microbursts, macrobursts, derechos, straight line winds,” he says

So what should New Jerseyans do when bad weather approaches?

First, be aware of forecast storms approaching. Second, get indoors if you hear thunder. Thunder means lighting, which can potentially be dangerous. Third, take weather warnings seriously. A warning means that there is an immediate threat.


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