The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down near Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday.
The weather service gave the twister a rating of EF2 and said it had a maximum wind speed of 130 mph and maximum path width of 200 yards.
The Weather Channel reported that despite multiple collapsed buildings, flipped cars, and downed trees and power lines, only six people were injured in the storm. Red Cross spokesman Dave Skutnik said on Twitter that the injuries weren’t serious, but called the damage in Wilkes-Barre Township (which is separate from the city of Wilkes-Barre) “horrific.”
W-B Twp likely tornado update – firefighters indicate numerous Mundy St stores with roof & wall failure. Several – perhaps many – overturned vehicles. Somehow, only hearing about few minor injuries so far. Time of day helped (10pm). Two hours earlier and this is horrific.
— Dave Skutnik (@DaveSkutnik) June 14, 2018
A shopping center appeared to have sustained the greatest damage, according to the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. Photos from local news stations showed internal and external damage to the center. Other photos of the area show flipped vehicles and debris-strewn yards.
“The tornado touched down near Mundy Street and Highland Park Boulevard by the Wyoming Valley Mall and traveled about a half-mile southeast toward I-81 before dissipating,” the weather service said in its survey of the damage. “Numerous roofs were destroyed and windows blown out. Structures were sheared off near their foundation. Power poles were snapped with numerous lines down.”
Bruno Isles, an employee at the Panera Bread store in a hard-hit shopping center, told the Times Leader that the cafe “had tables and chairs flying through the windows.”
Wilkes- Barre Township police shared an aerial video to their Facebook page showing damage. In the video, which was originally posted by Access Aerial, damaged buildings, flipped trucks and heaps of debris can be spotted.
Aerial view of the damage in Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania.
Posted by Access Aerial on Thursday, June 14, 2018
PPL Electric Utilities provides power for the area. As of early Thursday afternoon, the live outage map showed that about 1,000 customers around Wilkes-Barre were without power.