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Tracking Newark's recent tornado

June 12, 2013 — The tornado that downed trees and damaged homes in Newark on Monday evening, June 10, was uncommon but not unprecedented, according to Delaware State Climatologist Daniel Leathers, who is also a professor of geography in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

“It’s unusual for us to get a tornado in Delaware,” Leathers said. “It’s not like we get a ton of them. But since about 1950, we have averaged about one per year.”

The National Weather Service classified the tornado as the weakest category, EF0, which generates wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph, and in this case uprooted trees, broke branches and damaged structures. The tornado struck the Robscott Manor neighborhood, near the southern edge of UD’s South Campus.

The Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS), based at UD, supplies information to the National Weather Service to monitor rainfall amounts and other aspects of storms as they move through Delaware.

Heavy rain over the past five days contributed to the damage. Delaware had 3.5 to 4 inches of rain on Friday, already saturating the ground before another 1.5 to 2.5 inches fell on Monday, Leathers said. The inundation loosened roots to make trees easier to topple and turned roads like Newark’s Main Street into small streams.