Tornado confirmed in Wilkes-Barre storm, National Weather Service says

A truck at U-Haul Moving and Storage in Wilkes-Barre Twp., Pa. is overturned on Thursday after a strong storm moved through the area on Wednesday night.

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.”

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.

Camera icon Dave Scherbenco/The Citizens' Voice via AP
A bystander stands in front of several ruined stores in the area of the Wilkes Barre Township Commons on Thursday morning.

“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.”

Camera icon AP Photo/Jimmy May
Debris and damaged vehicles sit in front of a car dealership on Thursday in Wilkes-Barre.

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.”

Camera icon Nico Rossi/The Citizens' Voice via AP
A Panera Bread restaurant in the Arena Hub shopping area in Wilkes-Barre Township.

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.