Reporting Christine Sloan
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880/1010 WINS) – The East Coast was a mess Wednesday and the powerful wind gusts refused to let up.
Earlier in the day small planes were tossed like toys, some flipped over, at Trenton Mercer Airport. In Scotch Plains, a tree fell on a gas main. It then ruptured into a fiery explosion.
In Philadelphia there was major damage to a shopping mall. The winds demolished windows and walls and tore off the roof.
And in Baltimore, the National Weather Service is investigating reports of a tornado. The storm ripped the top off homes and destroyed trees.
A squall line of strong winds and heavy rain blew through New Jersey about 4:30 a.m., National Weather Service meteorologist Walter Drag said. There were pockets of wind gusts between 50 to 65 mph in southern New Jersey, he said.
The small airplanes at Trenton Mercer were tied down Tuesday night when thunderstorms moved through the airport. However, the relentless winds picked the planes up, bounced them around as if they were toys and shattered their windshields before leaving them nose down in the ground.
“Some of the aircraft were tumbled onto their roofs so we can have cabin damage, wing damage, nose damage,” Mercer County spokesperson Julie Millot told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
Eight planes were pretty much destroyed. Chris Moyers said he was planning on flying a Cessna on Wednesday. He’s training at Mercer County Community College, which lost three planes.
“I am devastated. This is ridiculous. I mean, ah, I really can’t believe this,” Moyers said.
Not only that, the roof of a nearby hanger blew off and flew 50 yards.
“It is like a banana peel all over the place. That’s weather for you,” flight student Nick Biondo said.
Over in Scotch Plains, high winds toppled trees and polls, causing the gas main explosion behind Tom DeVizeo’s backyard on Cooper Road.
“We heard a major windstorm come through. I mean, it sounded like a freight train for about 60 seconds,” DeVizeo said. “I ran downstairs, looked in the backyard and saw a ball of flames in my backyard.”
Friday: High 47, Low 36
Sunny. Highs around 50. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday: High 56, Low 46
Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s.
Sunday: High 49, Low 38
Mostly sunny. Highs around 50.