HOWELL, N.J. (PIX11) – Both Dominick Ingui and Reid Stampfel are glad their families took Saturday’s tornado warning seriously.
“We were watching TV, and it started hitting us and everything went out,” said Ingui. “All the rain stopped and the hail. That’s when we looked outside and saw all the debris and the insulation.”
A confirmed EF2 tornado with roaring winds of up to 120 mph ripped through Howell Saturday night, leaving some severe damage in its wake.
“It’s pretty sad because the people over there, their roof got collapsed, and then, it’s over here, and we’re cleaning up,” said Stampfel.
Howell schools canceled classes Monday, so the two boys were spending the day helping their neighbors clean up their yards. Many yards were riddled with the insulation and solid wood that was ripped away from a home on Spicy Pond Road. Emergency management officials said the family miraculously escaped injury.
One neighbor across the street, who didn’t want to be identified, was out of town while his mom and sister were hunkering down. “I was talking to them while they were hiding – sheltering in place in the pantry. I was at a concert, so I had to decide whether to feel guilty or try to enjoy myself. But that was a pretty wild moment,” the neighbor said.
Another EF2 tornado was confirmed in nearby Jackson Township, where one of the country’s biggest sports bubble complexes, Adventure Crossing USA, was brought down by the storm. Tornadoes also touched down in Sea Girt in Monmouth County and in Cinnamonson in South Jersey.
“When I first started in emergency management, we did have an EF0 come through on Route 9 and it did some damage, but nothing to the magnitude of this,” said Victor Cook, emergency services director in Howell Township. “We dodged a bullet here. Usually you see this stuff in Arkansas lately, Alabama, but we don’t see it in Howell Township, New Jersey.”
Nearly all of the 4,000 customers who lost power have since had it restored, and school will resume on Tuesday, officials said.