Weather forecasters from the National Weather Service say that the Saturday night storm that ripped through Freehold was a strong “downburst.”
According to forecasters, a downburst is created by a column of sinking rain and cool air. A downburst will reach ground level and spread out in all directions and is capable of producing very damaging straight-line winds. The damage is similar to, but distinguishable from, damage caused by tornadoes.
Aerial views reveal a defined swath where the trees have all been pushed over facing the same direction. The storm could have also been a supercell for part of its lifespan, forecasters said. A supercell is a thunderstorm that has a rotating, upward draft. The damage extends from the area near the Monmouth County Correctional Institution on Waterworks Road, Freehold Township, in a southeasterly direction toward East Freehold Showgrounds on Kozloski Road, where the County Fair was located.
“The response to this emergency was swift and extraordinary, and I want to commend everyone for a job well done,” said Freehold Borough Mayor Nolan Higgins. “The main thoroughfares into town and most of the side streets have been cleaned of debris and power has been fully restored. I invite everyone to return to the borough to visit our excellent restaurants and shopping areas. We’re back in business.”
Anyone experiencing power issues or knows someone without power is urged to call JCP&L’s toll-free, 24-hour Outage Reporting Line, 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877). Homeowners whose pole or meter has been pulled from the side of their house will need to hire an electrician to make repairs. If the service is less than 200 amps, homeowners can sign a waiver to have power restored immediately, but they must call the borough’s code enforcement office to have it inspected within 30 days.