The Frankenstorm that ripped through the county late Halloween night created the first documented tornado to form in Delaware County in almost 10 years, but the strongest one in more than 45 years.
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information’s storm events database, the last F2 tornado recorded in the county since 1950 occurred on June 29, 1973, carving a two- to three-mile path in Edgmont.
Back then the tornado touched down at 10:45 a.m. and reached a width of 63 yards. No injuries or deaths were reported, but it caused $25,000 worth of property damage.
“Garage completely destroyed with debris carried ¾ mile away. Church roof extensively damaged and windows blown out,” reads a portion of that storm report. “Automobile thrown up against the church. Many trees uprooted or broken off. Over 1,000 trees lost in Ridley Creek State Park. Definite clockwise circular pattern to downed trees. The foot long splinter of wood drives 3 inches into large tree trunk.
“Of the above tornadoes, only the one at Edgemont (sic) was verified by NWS personnel.”
The Lima section of Middletown Township was hit with the next reported tornado when an F1 swept through on the afternoon of July 15, 1992. No deaths were reported in its .75-mile path (though the number injured per the NCEI’s database indicates zero or five). Hundreds of trees were snapped or knocked over that contributed to the damage of 30 homes and several automobiles. Twenty-five utility poles were uprooted. Damage was estimated at $250,000.
Fourteen months later an F1 tornado took a 3-mile whirl through Springfield and Drexel Hill causing $5 million in damage.
“A funnel cloud was first spotted by two police officers about 700 feet above the ground in Media. The tornado then touched down one mile north of the intersection of the U.S. Route 1 bypass and Route 320. It moved northeast toward Drexel Hill and northern Springfield where (it) apparently dissipated,” reads the NCEI narrative about the afternoon tornado on Sept. 27, 1993.
The tornado beat down on the properties of the police chief’s home and the then-leader of the Springfield Republican Party’s property.
“More than 20 large trees (some of them were over 200 years old and more than 150 feet tall) came down in his yard, two of which crashed onto the roof of his home on Township Line Road,” says the narrative about the leader’s damage.
Trees damaged other properties and cares in the township, but no deaths or injuries were reported. Additionally, 40,000 customers lost power countywide.
It would be well over 15 years until the next confirmed tornado touched down in the county.
An F0 tornado hit Chester City on the afternoon of Aug. 22, 2010 as a line of showers and thunderstorms moved through the region to whip up a max wind speed of 75 mph.
“The first wind damage occurred near the intersection of Fourth and Engle streets where a couple of trees and a garage was blown down. A nearly continuous path of tree damage then occurred to the 2000 block of Third Street where several trees were blown down and structural damage occurred to a building and its roof,” reads the narrative. The tornado had a short one-third mile path headed toward the Commodore Barry Bridge where it dissipated.
Planks were ripped of a new ramp for I-95 that was being constructed. No injuries or deaths were reported. Damages were estimated at $25,000.