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Philadelphia County Natural Disasters and Weather Extremes

 
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The chance of earthquake damage in Philadelphia County is higher than Pennsylvania average and is lower than the national average. The risk of tornado damage in Philadelphia County is higher than Pennsylvania average and is about the same as the national average.

Topics:Earthquake IndexVolcano IndexTornado IndexOther Weather Extremes EventsVolcanos NearbyHistorical Earthquake EventsHistorical Tornado Events

Earthquake Index, #4

Philadelphia County
0.57
Pennsylvania
0.17
U.S.
1.81

The earthquake index value is calculated based on historical earthquake events data using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the earthquake level in a region. A higher earthquake index value means a higher chance of an earthquake.

Volcano Index, #1

Philadelphia County
0.0000
Pennsylvania
0.0000
U.S.
0.0023

The volcano index value is calculated based on the currently known volcanoes using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the possibility of a region being affected by a possible volcano eruption. A higher volcano index value means a higher chance of being affected.

Tornado Index, #9

Philadelphia County
144.86
Pennsylvania
109.77
U.S.
136.45

The tornado index value is calculated based on historical tornado events data using USA.com algorithms. It is an indicator of the tornado level in a region. A higher tornado index value means a higher chance of tornado events.

Other Weather Extremes Events

A total of 16,872 other weather extremes events within 50 miles of Philadelphia County were recorded from 1950 to 2010. The following is a break down of these events:

TypeCountTypeCountTypeCountTypeCountTypeCount
Avalanche:0Blizzard:11Cold:104Dense Fog:76Drought:177
Dust Storm:0Flood:2,752Hail:1,971Heat:280Heavy Snow:286
High Surf:35Hurricane:0Ice Storm:35Landslide:1Strong Wind:518
Thunderstorm Winds:7,029Tropical Storm:9Wildfire:96Winter Storm:205Winter Weather:361
Other:2,926 

Volcanos Nearby

No volcano is found in or near Philadelphia County.

Historical Earthquake Events

A total of 3 historical earthquake events that had recorded magnitudes of 3.5 or above found in or near Philadelphia County.

Distance (miles)DateMagnitudeDepth (km)LatitudeLongitude
25.81973-02-283.81439.72-75.44
10.51980-03-113.7540.16-75.1
12.61980-03-053.5540.19-75.16

Historical Tornado Events

A total of 47 historical tornado events that had recorded magnitude of 2 or above found in or near Philadelphia County.

Distance (miles)DateMagnitudeStart Lat/LogEnd Lat/LogLengthWidthFatalitiesInjuriesProperty DamageCrop DamageAffected County
4.11989-06-09239°57'N / 75°09'W39°57'N / 75°07'W0.50 Mile50 Yards0125K0Philadelphia
4.51989-06-09239°57'N / 75°07'W39°57'N / 75°05'W1.50 Miles50 Yards00250K0Camden
5.31958-07-14239°56'N / 75°08'W39°56'N / 75°07'W003K0Philadelphia
7.01958-07-14239°56'N / 75°07'W39°58'N / 74°56'W9.80 Miles27 Yards000K0Philadelphia
9.81998-06-01240°07'N / 75°02'W40°05'N / 74°57'W5.60 Miles200 Yards001.8M0Philadelphia
 Brief Description: A tornado ripped through Upper and Lower Moreland Townships as well as extreme northeast Philadelphia during the early morning of June 1st. The tornado was rated as an F1 (A weak tornado on the Fujita Scale) in Montgomery County and intensified into an F2 (or strong tornado on the Fujita Scale) within Philadelphia. The worst damage occurred within the unoccupied Byberry Industrial Park as the tornado reached its strongest intensity. Thirty-five commercial buildings were damaged, nine severely. Damage outside of the industrial park was mainly confined to downed trees. About ten homes were damaged by fallen trees. The damage within Philadelphia was discontinuous suggesting the tornado was not on the ground for its entire lifetime across the city. Damage was estimated at $1.8 million dollars. Because the buildings were unoccupied, no injuries occurred. The tornado moved into the city from Lower Moreland Township in the Bustleton/Lumar Park area around 120 a.m. EDT. Trees were split and knocked down. The tornado intensified into a strong one (F2 on the Fujita Scale) as it crossed into the Byberry Industrial Park. The worst damage was done in the area around Byberry Road, McNulty Road, Roosevelt Boulevard and Southampton Road. Five ton air conditioning units were tossed. Of the 35 commercial buildings damaged, nine were severely damaged and declared "imminently dangerous". Slabs of the roof were tossed 200 yards. Some buildings lost entire sides, had buckled steel beams, shattered windows and crushed equipment. The tornado plucked utility poles from the ground. About 20 poles were knocked over. Five teams of tree service personnel were overwhelmed. Damage south of the industrial park became sporadic as the tornado turned toward the southeast. It lifted just before the Bucks County border near Woodhaven Road just to the southeast of the Franklin Mills Mall. Its path length was about 5.6 miles and path width about 200 yards. PECO Energy reported 34,000 customers in Philadelphia lost power. Five thousand still did not have power the evening of the 1st. It was the worst non-winter storm in PECO Energy's 50 year history and the fourth worst overall. According to their lightning detection system, there were 7,000 cloud to ground lightning strikes in their service area as this line of thunderstorms moved through.
14.51960-06-24240°12'N / 75°15'W0.80 Mile27 Yards00250K0Montgomery
17.31973-06-29240°14'N / 75°02'W40°15'N / 74°59'W1.90 Miles100 Yards0025K0Bucks
18.71956-08-13240°15'N / 75°18'W40°16'N / 75°15'W1.30 Miles333 Yards0025K0Montgomery
18.81973-06-29239°56'N / 75°29'W39°54'N / 75°27'W1.90 Miles63 Yards0025K0Delaware
19.11960-07-14239°44'N / 75°23'W39°46'N / 75°08'W13.30 Miles450 Yards060K0Gloucester
21.31961-06-08240°12'N / 75°27'W1.00 Mile200 Yards0125K0Montgomery
21.61955-03-22339°58'N / 75°37'W40°03'N / 75°28'W9.60 Miles600 Yards10250K0Chester
23.41962-05-24240°19'N / 74°57'W40°18'N / 74°54'W1.90 Miles67 Yards0025K0Bucks
24.21979-09-05239°47'N / 75°29'W2.50 Miles200 Yards05250K0New Castle
24.51960-07-14239°43'N / 75°26'W39°44'N / 75°23'W2.30 Miles450 Yards00250K0Salem
25.51988-08-17240°17'N / 74°47'W40°13'N / 74°45'W4.50 Miles200 Yards002.5M0Mercer
25.91958-06-13240°09'N / 74°42'W40°10'N / 74°40'W01250K0Burlington
26.81988-08-17239°43'N / 75°28'W1.50 Miles400 Yards00250K0Salem
27.61958-06-13240°10'N / 74°40'W40°11'N / 74°39'W00250K0Mercer
27.81962-05-24240°18'N / 74°54'W40°17'N / 74°37'W14.70 Miles300 Yards01250K0Mercer
28.01975-04-03240°02'N / 75°40'W40°05'N / 75°39'W3.00 Miles20 Yards003K0Chester
28.51990-10-18239°47'N / 75°35'W1.00 Mile430 Yards00250K0New Castle
32.02004-09-28239°41'N / 75°36'W39°44'N / 75°35'W5.00 Miles150 Yards001.0M0New Castle
 Brief Description: An F2 (on the Fujita scale) tornado touched down in northern New Castle County with maximum winds estimated at 130 mph. The path length was 5.0 miles long with a maximum path width of 150 yards. The tornado touched down near and was observed at the New Castle County Airport. The northern end of the tornado track was in Elsmere. Significant damage did occur along the path of this tornado, particularly to some of the planes at the airport and industrial buildings near the airport. In addition, five persons were injured. The tornado damaged five C-130 cargo planes at the New Castle County Airport, caused thousands of pounds of jet fuel to spill and damaged hangers. It tore through the Newport Industrial Park along Delaware State Route 141. It tossed long strips of metal siding into the air and onto roads. Windows were shattered, walls peeled away and trees and light poles were snapped. The roof and whole side of the United Electric Supply building was torn away. Delaware State Route 141 and some nearby side streets were closed. Gas service was shut off to prevent explosions. On Bellecor Drive, a self-storage facility suffered major damage. One man at the business was injured after he was trapped under a fallen refrigerator. Three people were injured at the airport itself. A man in Elsmere was hit by a fallen tree limb. The tornado also caused damaged to homes in Wilmington Manor and Chelsea Estates near the airport. In Elsmere, the tornado tore shingles and vent covers from the Corpus Christi Elementary School. The ensuing heavy rain damaged the gymnasium. In the Red Clay Consolidated School District, the tornado also caused minor damage to the Richardson Park Elementary School.
32.31960-06-24240°24'N / 75°37'W40°19'N / 75°28'W9.40 Miles200 Yards00250K0Berks
33.01961-04-28339°40'N / 75°34'W0.30 Mile30 Yards0025K0New Castle
33.11989-06-09239°47'N / 75°41'W2.00 Miles100 Yards012.5M0New Castle
33.41992-07-17239°54'N / 75°47'W39°55'N / 75°43'W4.00 Miles100 Yards00250K0Chester
35.41975-07-13239°30'N / 75°13'W1.50 Miles77 Yards0025.0M0Cumberland
36.71990-05-10239°29'N / 75°02'W0.50 Mile200 Yards00250K0Cumberland
37.01979-09-05239°46'N / 75°44'W39°48'N / 75°48'W4.10 Miles63 Yards142.5M0Chester
38.01990-10-18340°29'N / 74°46'W0.50 Mile100 Yards082.5M0Somerset
39.21984-07-05240°28'N / 75°35'W40°29'N / 75°32'W2.50 Miles300 Yards002.5M0Lehigh
40.31984-07-05240°28'N / 75°38'W40°28'N / 75°35'W2.50 Miles300 Yards002.5M0Berks
41.11984-07-05240°30'N / 75°35'W40°31'N / 75°32'W2.50 Miles300 Yards002.5M0Lehigh
41.71984-07-05240°29'N / 75°38'W40°30'N / 75°35'W2.50 Miles300 Yards002.5M0Berks
42.31979-09-05240°21'N / 75°48'W1.00 Mile30 Yards00250K0Berks
43.11973-02-02240°36'N / 74°52'W0.30 Mile100 Yards003K0Hunterdon
43.11984-07-05240°29'N / 75°42'W40°29'N / 75°38'W3.00 Miles300 Yards002.5M0Berks
44.31992-08-28239°57'N / 75°58'W2.00 Miles100 Yards03250K0Chester
44.31984-07-05240°27'N / 75°46'W40°28'N / 75°42'W3.00 Miles300 Yards002.5M0Berks
44.61984-07-05240°26'N / 75°49'W40°29'N / 75°40'W7.00 Miles300 Yards022.5M0Berks
46.71981-05-15239°36'N / 75°50'W1.50 Miles27 Yards022.5M0Cecil
47.51979-10-05240°21'N / 75°55'W1.00 Mile40 Yards0125K0Berks
47.61982-06-29239°53'N / 74°15'W1.50 Miles23 Yards002.5M0Ocean
48.21950-07-05240°35'N / 75°42'W40°39'N / 75°28'W12.90 Miles33 Yards0225K0Lehigh
48.71998-05-31340°29'N / 75°54'W40°29'N / 75°44'W8.30 Miles120 Yards071.4M0Berks
 Brief Description: A violent thunderstorm produced a swath of wind damage across the northern half of Berks County and included an eight mile long strong F3 (Fujita Scale) Tornado that devastated the borough of Lyons. Seven persons were injured (five within Lyons). About 40 homes were either destroyed or damaged in Lyons, Maiden Creek, Maxatawny and Richmond Townships. Preliminary damage estimates for the entire event were placed at $1.5 million dollars. About 10,250 homes and businesses lost power. The last homes to come back on line were in Lyons on June 3rd. This was the first tornado of that strength to occur in Southeast Pennsylvania and the Southern Poconos since the Limerick Tornado on July 27, 1994 and the first F3 tornado to occur within Berks County since November 4, 1950. Even before the tornado formed, the parent thunderstorm was producing wind damage in western Berks County. Wind damage started in Centre Township as several trailers were overturned in Donny Acres. In Leesport, the severe thunderstorm ripped the entire roof off one home. The couple in the house was temporarily trapped after the porch roof they use to access the stairs collapsed. The thunderstorm also ripped the roof and some bricks off a detached garage. Other houses and buildings on East Main Street also had some minor wind damage. Debris from a knitting company's air conditioning unit pelted a neighborhood. Wind damage also occurred in Ontelaunee Tonship along Pennsylvania State Route 61. The tornado made its initial touchdown just to the east of Lake Ontelaunee in Maiden Creek Township around 9 p.m. EDT and moved almost due east across Richmond Township into the borough of Lyons (about 910 p.m. EDT), across southern Maxatawny Township and lifted in northern Rockland Township and 915 p.m. EDT. The tornado was on the ground for about 8.3 miles. Its path width was around 120 yards. The tornado destruction started near U.S. Route 222 in Maiden Creek Township as the roof was blown off one farmhouse. A vehicle was also crushed by a tree. In Maxatawny Township six homes were severely damaged. One house collapsed on Smoketown Road in the Bowers area. A second house lost its roof in the Arrowhead Development. The damage increased across Richmond Township as 10 homes or farms were destroyed or damaged. Pennsylvania State Route 662 was closed between U.S Route 222 and the Fleetwood Borough line because of downed poles and trees. Parts of U.S. Route 222 were also closed because of debris on the road. One house completely collapsed. At one farm the tornado toppled a huge silo and ripped off the roofs of another silo and the barn. At another home, the remains of a large metal storage bin rested on top of the house. Golf ball size hail also damaged two vehicles and a metal awning. The same parent thunderstorm also produced straight line wind damage farther south in Ruscombmanor Township. The worst damage occurred in the borough of Lyons. The north side of the borough was destroyed. About one quarter of the borough's 550 residents were affected by the tornado. The tornado damage within this borough led to a presidential declaration of a disaster area for Berks County. About 100 residents were sheltered. The tornado cut a two block wide path along Hunter Street just north of the Conrail Tracks. About 25 homes were heavily damaged, several collapsed. Miraculously, only five persons were injured. The last two tornado related injuries occurred in northern Rockland Township as it lifted and threw a modular home from its foundation. The two men inside were injured. The tornado then lifted. Although the tornado lifted, the parent thunderstorm still produced wind damage across eastern Berks County. Noble Street was closed in Kutztown because of downed trees and lines. Trees were also uprooted in Longswamp Township. Downed limbs and wires caused power outages in District, Greenwich, Longswamp and Rockland Townships.
49.42001-05-27240°21'N / 74°20'W40°22'N / 74°18'W1.50 Miles67 Yards001.0M0Monmouth
 Brief Description: A strong tornado (F2 on the Fujita Scale) struck extreme northern Manalapan and extreme southwest Marlboro Townships. Four houses had severe roof damage and about a dozen others suffered minor damage. A construction trailer was tossed and two vehicles were overturned. Between 150 and 200 trees were either uprooted or damaged. Tree damage was so extensive that Hawkins Road Park was closed. The area was littered with broken pieces of wood, shingles, gutters and parts of roofs. The tornado's path length was about 1.5 miles and its path width was around 200 feet. No injuries were reported. This was the first strong tornado in New Jersey since August 20, 1999 and the first strong tornado in Monmouth County since October 16, 1955. The tornado first touched down near Arbach Lane in Manalapan Township. It initially was relatively weak (F0) on the Fujita Scale, but intensified into an F1 tornado before it reached Kentucky Court. One property on Kentucky Court lost dozens of trees. The tornado also downed trees on Ivanhoe and Rowena Roads. The tornado reached its maximum strength (F2) as it passed through Debracy Court where the worst damage occurred. Four homes suffered severe roof damage. The roof and second floor of one home had to be completely repaired. The windows of another house all burst. A restored Thunderbird was damaged by flying debris that penetrated the garage door. The house apparently shifted as doors no longer closed. A third home on the block had a picnic table blown into its sunroom along with a piece of the neighbor's fence. Patio furniture was splintered throughout the block. A minivan parked in one driveway, was rolled about 40 feet. The tornado weakened to an F1 after it left Debracy Court. Nevertheless, it tore shingles from a home on Eastwood Boulevard and downed a tree onto a car. A construction trailer on Hawkins Corner Road was blown 50 feet across the street and crushed like an aluminum can. As the tornado crossed into Marlboro Township, it knocked down dozens of trees in Hawkins Road Park. The part was closed because of the uprooted trees. As the tornado exited the park, it weakened to an F0. It still knocked a tree onto a house on MacLeisch Drive and ripped shingles and gutters from homes on Guest and MacLeisch Drives. The tornado lifted as it approached Barclay Brook.


* The information on this page is based on the global volcano database, the U.S. earthquake database of 1638-1985, and the U.S. Tornado and Weather Extremes database of 1950-2010.


 
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