STANHOPE, New Jersey — The National Weather Service is now confirming a tornado touched down in New Jersey Tuesday, damaging an area high school, while uprooting trees and downing power lines across the area.
According to the National Weather Service, survey teams determined the storm damage in Sussex County, particularly Stanhope, was caused by an EF1 tornado.
"The team still has yet to determine specifics such as path length, width, and maximum wind speed," the NWS said in a statement. They expect to have more information later Wednesday afternoon and evening.
The damage to Lenape Regional High School in Stanhope was confirmed by an official with the Sussex County Sheriff’s office. The school is closed Wednesday, and all classes and after school activities are cancelled.
The school was hosting an athletic banquet when the now-confirmed tornado hit, leaving attendees scrambling for safety.
Dozens of people were at the school for the track team event. Some then reportedly saw the building’s windows bowing.
Everyone was ushered to the gym, where they rode out the storm until it had cleared.
Trees and utility lines were knocked down in the storm, and crews have been working to clear debris throughout the night.
Outside, at least one vehicle flipped over, causing two minor injuries.
As one family left the event, a tree reportedly fell on their car, though nobody was seriously hurt.
“There was this giant crack, and that’s when we ran in the house,” a Stanhope resident told PIX11’s Anthony DiLorenzo. “It was a little too close. It was, like, right above us.”
The national weather service is planning on visiting the area today to survey the damage and determine whether or not it was a tornado.
Thousands remain without power.
PIX11 viewers reported hail. The National Weather Service confirms hail up to 1.75 inches in size in Staten Island.
More severe storms and potential tornadoes could hit the tri-state area again Wednesday evening.