LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (PIX11) — A strong tornado cut a nearly 6-mile path of destruction across Central New Jersey on Tuesday, the National Weather Service confirmed in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. The storm displaced 60 families from their homes and damaged at least 160 structures, according to local authorities.

With that much damage, many residents were expressing gratitude that there were no severe injuries. “It was actually a miracle nobody got hurt,” said Pam Grund, a homeowner in West Windsor.

“It could’ve been a slew of things that could’ve happened,” she said. “Today could’ve been a very different day.”

Grund’s property had five trees that were at least three times the height of her single-story ranch-style home that were broken in half or toppled over. Her home was at the east end of the tornado’s path, according to the National Weather Service.

National Weather Service meteorologists classified the storm as an EF2 tornado, which had packed winds between 110 mph and 115 mph, over a 5.8-mile swath, running from Lawrence Township to West Windsor Township. The tornado’s path was 200 yards wide, the length of two football fields.

It knocked off part of the wall of a 12-unit apartment building in the Quaker Bridge neighborhood of Lawrence Township, forcing inspectors to prohibit residents from returning until the building is stabilized.

The apartment development of Lawrence Square Village had aluminum siding and fiberglass insulation strewn all over its streets and parking lots, after they’d been stripped off buildings from the high winds. The development had had dozens upon dozens of thick, hearty trees cut in two from the force of the twister, which had touched down at 3:35 p.m. on Tuesday and ended at 3:41 p.m., after winding across a section of Mercer County where the two adjacent townships are located, according to the National Weather Service.

A major part of the situation was how unexpected the tornado was, as Mike Zelenka pointed out. He owns a tree service company and has worked the aftermath of storms many times over the years. However, this time was different, he said.

“We get crazy storms like April, and then again July, August and September, but never typically this early,” Zelenka said.

In fact, depending on how it’s counted, there have only been two other tornado events in New Jersey during February, since records started being kept in the 1780s.

The first one, in 1973, actually had three different tornadoes touch down in different locations on the same day. The other February tornado event in New Jersey was in Cherry Hill in 1999.

This time, residents said, the EF2 tornado was as intense as its classification suggests. The tri-state area more commonly has EF0 tornadoes and occasionally has an EF1 tornado.

Tuesday’s storm’s severity affected Robert Galasso, another West Windsor homeowner, personally. The day after, he explained why he was so grateful that no harm came to him or his family.

“I got the tornado alert on my phone, and it said, ‘Tornado in your area, take shelter now,'” he said.

“The wind had started, and it legitimately sounded like a freight train was coming through the house,” Galasso continued. “I grabbed my son, who’s 3 [years old], got in the bathtub, ducked down.”

“That tree in the back hit the porch, it knocked pictures off the wall, but at the time, I thought it had come through the house.”

It had not. Instead, the tree, about four stories tall, ended up on its side on top of Galasso’s back porch. It was one of a variety of trees that came down, most of the others even taller and thicker.

Still, none of them managed to damage his home, or, more important, his family, he said.

“While it was all unfolding, said Galasso, “It was the craziest 45 seconds of my life.”