- Associated Press - Sunday, February 26, 2017

The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down in northeastern Pennsylvania as storms swept through the region over the weekend, but other damage in central Pennsylvania was due to straight-line winds.

A weather service team says the tornado in the Pittston Township area of Luzerne County will be classified as an EF-2 with wind speeds of 120 mph. Investigators earlier said straight-line winds estimated at 75 to 95 mph caused damage over a 9-mile path Saturday in Brickerville in Lancaster County.

Randy Gockley, director of Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency, said at least seven buildings, mostly farm buildings, were reported destroyed in West Cocalico Township while trees were reported blown into homes in Clay and Elizabeth townships.

David Elmore, deputy coordinator of the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency, said about 30 homes were damaged, six seriously, in Pittston Township.

Jackie Hackman, of Clay Township, told LNP newspapers that a sturdy 12-by-24-foot shed on her property was lifted and blown into her neighbor’s yard, where it lay upside-down Saturday afternoon. Inside the shed were “several four-wheelers” and a lawn tractor among other equipment and possessions, she said.



With her 16-year-old daughter home alone when the storm hit, “it was quite a panicky situation for me,” Hackman said, adding she and her other daughter were in Ephrata at the time.

Gene Martin, looking around at the wreckage, told PennLive.com that his five sons, who raise cattle and poultry in West Cocalico Township, lost their barns and implement sheds “but their houses are all standing, so I’m very grateful for that.”

Pat Popielarz said she saw the emergency message urging her and other northeastern Luzerne County residents to take shelter, and went straight to the basement - and the storm hit almost immediately.

“It was just roaring like a jet engine,” Popielarz told The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens’ Voice. “I had never heard anything like it. I could hear things crashing.”

When she emerged from her home she saw trees, poles and wires down all over the neighborhood and a neighbor’s roof gone. A tree limb lay across her car, she said.

Officials said one elderly Lancaster County resident required a medical evacuation, but no injuries were reported, although teams were still checking on the welfare of residents.

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