As spring arrives it is a good time to take a look at how severe weather affected the Northeast United States in 2018. There were several notable days that stick out last year. This data is from the National Weather Services confirmed tornado reports from Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Vermont and Maine did not see any tornadoes in 2018.
February 15th 2018
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh PA confirmed a tornado in Uniontown and North Union Township in Fayette County, western Pennsylvania on February 15th. A line of thunderstorms developed along a lifting warm front, providing not only for enhancement in the rainfall totals, which ranged from 1-3 inches, but also attributed to shear that supported the development of a short-lived tornado over Uniontown, in Fayette county Pennsylvania. This was the first tornado in February since 1950 for the Pittsburgh Weather Service office. Several buildings lost either part or their entire roof. A four level senior living building lost nearly half its roof. There was also numerous power lines down and several homes in the Greenpoint / Laurel estates area suffered damage to their roofs as well.
March 4th 2018
An EF-1 tornado touched down just east of the Vermont border in southwestern New Hampshire during the evening of May 4 and moved rapidly to the east-northeast. The first observed damage in New Hampshire was in North Walpole in northern Cheshire County. The tornado then moved through the southeastern corner of Charlestown, and the towns of Langdon, Acworth, Lempster, Bradford, Warner, and Webster. The last observed damage was near Route 127 in Webster. Total track length was about 38.5 miles with a maximum width of about 300 yards. The tornado was rated E-F1 based on the damage in the Town of Warner where winds were estimated to have gusted to 90 to 100 mph. This was the 2nd longest tornado recorded in New Hampshire history and also the 2nd earliest tornado in New Hampshire since records started in 1950.
May 15th 2018 Outbreak
An intense cold front move through central New York and northeast Pennsylvania during the afternoon of May 15th. This front produced a major squall line which eventually evolved into a derecho with estimated wind speeds of up to 115 mph in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. The derecho moved into Sullivan County, New York with winds just shy of 100 mph. Thousands of trees were snapped and uprooted along at least a 35 mile path with many homes damaged from falling trees and high winds. Several supercell thunderstorms then developed, with the lead storm resulting in a EF1 tornado near Saugerties and a swath of hail of two inches diameter and greater. Later in the afternoon, an intense thunderstorm with winds up to 105 mph resulted in a widespread area of wind damage along the I-84 corridor in southern Dutchess County. Over 35,000 customers in Dutchess and Ulster Counties lost power as a result of the storms. Travel restrictions were issued for southern Dutchess County due to downed trees and malfunctioning traffic lights, and Amtrak and Metro North rail service was suspended in the county. The governor deployed 125 members of the National Guard to aid storm recovery efforts.
Severe thunderstorms continued into Connecticut and impacted portions of Litchfield County during the afternoon of May 15th. A supercell thunderstorm crossed northern portions of the county, resulting in hail up to two inches in diameter, two confirmed tornadoes, and straight-line wind damage. Later in the afternoon, a severe thunderstorm resulted in wind damage across far southern portions of the county. Numerous power outages and several road closures occurred as a result of the storms. A total of 11 Tornadoes were confirmed on this day.
June 13th 2018
A strong area of low pressure moved from northern Ontario to the Saint Lawrence Valley from the day of the 13th into the evening. This low pressure system pushed a cold front into northeast Pennsylvania during the evening of the 13th. This front triggered severe thunderstorms which spawned two EF2 tornadoes, one in Bradford County and the other Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The E2 tornados knocked down numerous trees, destroyed several homes and damaged up to 24 businesses. There were no deaths and 6 minor injuries.
August 2nd 2018
A passing trough of low pressure and upper level disturbance triggered an isolated severe thunderstorm and a tornado in the Queens section of New York City.
October 2nd Outbreak
A warm front associated with an area of developing low pressure over northern Illinois moved across northern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania late on October 1st through the morning hours of the 2nd. This allowed strong southerly flow to bring abnormally warm and moist air into the area. Temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s created moderate instability ahead of the front during the afternoon. Strong low-level wind shear was in place so the environment was primed for severe weather with tornadoes possible. The low pressure lifted northeast to southern Ontario by noon on the 2nd with the associated cold front moving eastward across Ohio. The main emphasis for the tornadic development was an outflow boundary from morning convection over the lake. A total of 20 tornadoes were confirmed on this date.