EF3 tornado confirmed in Bucks County, National Weather Service says

Storm damage in Bucks County July 29, 2021

A semi-trailer lies on its side after it overturned during the storm in Trevose, Pa. Thursday, July 29, 2021. Five people were injured Thursday when a building at a Bensalem auto dealership was destroyed by severe weather, authorities said. The National Weather Service confirmed two tornados touched down in Bucks County, sending trees falling and debris flying.Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

UPDATE: 7 tornados now confirmed Thursday in Pa. and N.J., weather service says

An EF3 tornado tore through southern Bucks County on Thursday, with speeds of up to 140 mph, the National Weather Service confirmed Friday afternoon.

At least five people were injured when the severe weather struck an auto dealership, homes and other businesses in the Bensalem/Trevose area, authorities said.

The National Weather Service earlier confirmed two tornadoes touched down Thursday in Bucks County, sending trees falling and debris flying. The thunderous downpour flooded streets and roadways.

The EF3 ranking is toward the upper end of the Enhanced Fujita Scale that is based on wind speeds.

“I have been doing this for 34 years, I haven’t seen that sort of devastation from a storm,” said Bensalem Police Public Safety Director Fred Harran.

One of those tornadoes damaged the auto dealership and a mobile home park, news outlets reported.

Four people were injured at the dealership and a fifth was hurt at a nearby business, Harran told reporters in a nighttime news conference. All injuries were considered non-life-threatening, he said.

A video posted on Twitter shows a building at the dealership collapsed, with emergency sirens abound.

Anthony Perez, an employee at the dealership, told The Courier Times of Bucks County that a weather alert sounded on his phone just before the tornado hit.

“At that point, we were looking for shelter,” he said. “Everything was in a flash.”

Harran said authorities would work through the night to help people secure housing or return to their homes, restore power outages and clear the roadways, which were littered with debris after the tornadoes blew through.

“We’re going to have Friday morning rush hour in that area, which has a lot of traffic,” Harran said.

Severe weather was a concern around the region Thursday, with the NWS issuing warnings in New Jersey and Ohio, as well. The weather service was investigating whether a tornado was to blame for storm damage in Lehigh County.

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Along with The Associated Press, supervising reporter Kurt Bresswein contributed to this report. Reach him at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com.