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Straight-line winds, not a tornado, caused damage at Jersey Shore, NWS says

A drone image of storm damage in Toms River Tuesday afternoon. (Courtesy of the Toms River Police Department)

A drone image of storm damage in Toms River Tuesday afternoon. (Courtesy of the Toms River Police Department)

A tornado was not responsible for the damage inflicted in an Ocean County municipality Tuesday, weather officials say.

Areas in the East Dover section of Toms River, where homes suffered damage, trees and wires fell, and some utility poles snapped, were impacted by “straight-line” winds, according to the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

“Based on pictures, video clips, and eyewitness accounts provided by local emergency management officials and the general public, in conjunction with radar and other weather observations recorded when the storms moved thought, the National Weather Service has concluded this damage was caused by straight-line winds associated with a strong cold front moving rapidly toward the coast,” the agency said in a statement.

According to NOAA, straight-line winds are the result of the outflow generated by a thunderstorm downdraft. While a tornado has rotating winds, as the name implies, straight-line winds are in one direction.

The statement added that the agency is still investigating damage in the Normandy Beach section of Toms River to determine if it was caused by a tornado.

“Small-scale circulations were seen and recorded immediately ahead of the advancing cold front, which in some cases induced waterspouts over a few back bays and oceanfront areas, but were not strong enough to cause the damage experienced by numerous communities across the state,” the statement said.

Damage was also reported in Haddon Heights in Camden County and Mercer County’s Lawrenceville, according to the statement.

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