Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

National Weather Service confirms tornado touched down in Wilkes-Barre

National Weather Service confirms tornado touched down in Wilkes-Barre

The tornado in Wilkes-Barre Township was rated an EF-2 on the enhanced Fujita scale and had an estimated maximum wind speed of 130 miles per hour.

"We're very fortunate that it's only six people that were injured and they were all minor injuries", said Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Ron Smith. The National Weather Service says the tornado, with 130-mile per hour winds, left a three quarter of a mile trail.

A powerful storm damaged the Panera Bread restaurant in the Arena Hub shopping area in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., on Wednesday.

Storm damage in area of Arena Hub in Wilkes Barre Twp. Nico Rossi  Staff
Storm damage in area of Arena Hub in Wilkes Barre Twp. Nico Rossi Staff

Photos and videos on social media showed shattered storefronts and parking lots strewn with debris.

"I never seen anything like this in my life", township Mayor Carl Kuren said.

An emergency alert and tornado warning from the weather service preceded the twister, but those caught in its path were nevertheless stunned by the devastation.

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Joy Frie told The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens' Voice that staff and patrons huddled in the kitchen of the bar where she bartends until they could escape to another business.

"The doors were busting open".

Stan Davis, with the Keystone Incident Management Team, said crews were working Thursday to assess the extent of the damage at the scene. "This is a commercial hub in Luzerne County, this is a attractive area", said Luzerne County Manager David Pedri.

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Further north in Bradford County emergency responders reported damage to homes and businesses in Granville and Franklin Townships.

Police said Thursday that Mundy Street is without power; according to reports, the road will be closed throughout the day. He said was working with county and state officials to determine if the storm would qualify for federal disaster aid. "Our system is holding and safe at this point". Wednesday, and touched down near Mundy Street and Highland Park Boulevard near the Wyoming Valley Mall.

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