The tornado, with winds of 70 mph, began as a waterspout in Barnegat Bay near Normandy Beach, briefly touched inland, and then returned out to sea, meteorologists said.
Normandy Beach is on the barrier island between Mantaloking and Lavallette. So the tiny twister moved from the bay over the narrow strip of land -- less than a half-mile -- then back over the ocean. Winds of 70 mph matched the top straight-line winds that caused widespread damage in Toms River.
The twister swirled between Silver Bay and Kettle Creek and became a tornado about 3 p.m. as it came ashore, according to a preliminary damage survey from the NWS office in Mount Holly.
The tornado flipped several boats and trailers at the Normandy Beach Yacht Club and caused minor damage to at least one home on South Court, the NWS said.
Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said it's New Jersey's first tornado of 2020. The last tornado in Ocean County touched down in Manahawkin in August 2013, Zarrow said.
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