A tornado watch has been issued for parts of New Jersey, with clusters of strong thunderstorms expected to develop Thursday evening, some of them capable of producing a funnel cloud.
The tornado watch was issued by the national Storm Prediction Center at about 3:40 p.m. and remains active until 10 p.m. Thursday in eight counties across the Garden State: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem.
The watch also covers parts of eastern Pennsylvania, eastern Maryland and all of Delaware.
Although a tornado watch isn’t as urgent as a tornado warning, it indicates atmospheric conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms and possible isolated twisters to form as clouds begin to lift and rotate.
Forecasters say heavy moisture and wind shear at different levels of the atmosphere could help fuel the intensity of Thursday’s thunderstorms.
Forecasters are expecting several waves of rain showers and scattered thunderstorms popping up in New Jersey in the late afternoon and evening. Some of those storms could become severe, with large hail, heavy downpours and wind gusts as strong as 60 mph to 70 mph.
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Len Melisurgo may be reached at [email protected].