UPDATED 4/18/19 – 11pm – The tornado that touched down in the Laurel area wasn’t the only one in Sussex County. The National Weather Service say an EF1 tornado touched down near Carpenter Road in Harbeson. Officials say this was associated with the same parent circulation that produced the EF2 in Laurel. Damage was observed on Shay Lane where some trees snapped and a section of barn roof was blown off. Closer to the coast a couple of trees were snapped with roof damage on South Bay Shore Drive in Broadkill Beach. A swirling pattern was also seen in a marshy area as well. After this the circulation moved off shore. This storm touched down at about 4am with winds of 100mph. The path was a maximum of 50 yards and traveled 6.2miles.
The National Weather Service has also updated the information on the EF2 that touched down near Laurel – and now say the maximum path was 50 to 400 yards wide and traveled about 9.3 miles.
UPDATED at 7 p.m. on 4/15/2019 — The National Weather Service says an EF2 Tornado was responsible for widespread damage in Western Sussex County, centered around properties in Seaford and Laurel, east of Bethel.
The NWS office in Mount Holly, New Jersey sent surveyors to the area, confirming that the tornado touched down at approximately 3:38 a.m., while a Tornado Warning was in effect for that portion of Western Sussex County. They say the tornado remained on the ground for 6.2 miles, with a maximum width of 50 to 400 yards, according to latest NWS calculations. The tornado had maximum sustained winds of 120 miles an hour.
The National Weather Service says the storm destroyed a barn, caused a tree to fall on a house, resulting in one injury and caused extensive roof damage to numerous homes and barns. Numerous trees were uprooted and many telephone poles were snapped.
National Weather Service Meteorologists and experts are continually assessing the damage and may update the storm’s statistics including level on the EF Scale, maximum wind speeds, width and length on the ground.
WGMD News crews were on the scene earlier today, witnessing a stretch of Seaford Road was shut down where the most extensive damage had taken place. Additionally, we witnessed damage ranging from downed power lines and trees, damaged vehicles to roofs partially ripped off of homes.
In addition to damage, the storms also produced power outages and school closures and delays.
Images courtesy WGMD’s Hunter Landon. Additional images from the Delaware Electric Co-op, Laurel Fire Department, DelDot and Sussex County Government can be found on WGMD’s Facebook page.