Strong Pennsylvania storm damages businesses, overturns cars

Strong storms pounded a shopping plaza in Luzerne County Pennsylvania on Wednesday

Strong storms pounded a shopping plaza in Luzerne County Pennsylvania on Wednesday

National Weather Service officials confirmed Thursday that an EF2 tornado had touched down in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, late Wednesday and a second tornado touched down in nearby Bradford County.

There were no initial reports of injuries, according to the Associated Press.

An EF2 tornado is categorized as "strong", with winds from 111-135 miles per hour. That was an EF4 tornado that struck at 6:55 p.m.in the Allen Park and Ecorse areas. Authorities say the stores will remain closed indefinitely.

"The doors were busting open", Frie said.

A powerful storm damaged the Panera Bread restaurant in the Arena Hub shopping area in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., on Wednesday. "Nearly everyone's cars in the parking lot were destroyed", the 18-year-old said.

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Emergency crews from across the region raced to the township, the station reports, adding that the American Red Cross was on-scene assisting first responders and others.

Township Police Chief Ron Smith said the six injured people suffered only minor wounds and were not hospitalized. The road closure was due to a propane leak from a tank at the U-Haul store, which police said could not be capped and was being vented of hundreds of gallons of fuel.

Daybreak Thursday revealed significant and widespread damage following a night of severe weather in Wilkes-Barre, with a tornado damaging numerous businesses in a shopping plaza, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines.

A bystander stands in front of several businesses in the area of the Wilkes Barre Township Commons on Thursday morning.

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