AMWELL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Homeowners started repairing damage late Friday after powerful thunderstorms slammed parts of southwestern Pennsylvania.
The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for central Washington County in the afternoon hours. The strong winds that the storms unleashed took aim at Amwell and North Bethlehem Townships.
On Friday night, the NWS officials confirmed that a tornado caused damage in and around the community of Amwell. They say it hit between 3:21 and 3:23 p.m. It was rated an EF1, with estimated peak winds at 90 mph and a maximum width of 250 yards.
Damaging winds spawned by a tornado, and toppled trees and downed power lines.
Jim Lindley said the storm blew the back roof off of his barn.
Lindley told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “I tried to step out the door and everything was spinning. I saw parts and pieces of trees. It got so black you couldn’t see through it and the rain was pounding. It started banging. We went underneath a truck that was sitting in the garage there.”
Lindley said the winds were so strong they blew an air conditioner out of his upstairs window and it ended up inside his home.
“My family was in the house here, it blew the air conditioner out. She tried to run to the basement, but with the vacuum, she couldn’t get the door open to get downstairs,” he said.
The heavy rains caused creeks to overflow, which triggered some flooding. One home was damaged only slightly by the storm, but nearby trees couldn’t withstand the force of the powerful winds.
“I just came home from work, and within minutes, the wind picked up. In the backyard, I watched the tree just blow away. It came right down in the pool,” Beth Cross said.
Cross said the storm was over in a few minutes, but when the storm blew through, her house suddenly went dark, because nearby power lines came down.
“It was very calm when I was coming home from work, sunny. The roads weren’t even wet, and I even called work, and I said, ‘Oh, gang, tornado warning, they don’t know.’”
Damage in the area was scattered. There were no reports of any serious injuries.
At one home, the winds lifted a trampoline off the ground, and tossed it against the side of a home.
Saturday afternoon, NWS officials confirmed a second tornado touched down near Masontown, W.Va. That tornado was also an EF1 with maximum winds estimated at 95 mph.
by Ralph Iannotti
June 23, 2017