The National Weather Service confirmed Thursday that a tornado touched down in northeastern Pennsylvania, damaging businesses and flipping cars in a shopping center as survey teams are working to figure out if other twisters touched down across the region.
The NWS Binghamton office said in a bulletin a survey team confirmed a tornado occurred in the Wilkes-Barre Township on Wednesday night.
“The storm survey is ongoing and additional information concerning the track, damage and intensity of the tornado will be available later today,” the agency said.
In Wilkes-Barre Township, damage was reported in the area of the Wyoming Valley Mall while the area was under a tornado warning.
The Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department posted on Facebook that there were “multiple collapsed/damaged buildings” in the area of Mundy Street, and asked drivers to avoid the area.
Luzerne County officials told FOX56 that 23 businesses were damaged or destroyed in the tornado’s path.
Pictures from the area showed major damage to businesses, including flipped vehicles at a car dealership and U-Haul facility.
Bruno Isles, an employee at a Panera Bread restaurant in the area, told the (Wilkes-Barre) Times Leader that he was washing dishes in the back of the restaurant at the time the storm hit.
“I was washing dishes in the back, my manager had us secure the doors,” Isles said. “We had tables and chairs flying through the windows.”
Authorities said six people sustained minor injuries when the storms rolled through. Power lines were knocked down, and debris was scattered throughout the area.
Further north in Bradford County emergency responders reported damage to homes and businesses in Granville and Franklin Townships.
“I’ve been in the department since 1973, I have never seen anything like this in our area,” Troy Fire Department Chief Roy Vargson told WNEP.
The NWS posted photos on Twitter from the survey team in Bradford County in the Granville, Leroy and Franklin Townships.
“They are still assessing if the damage was due to straight line winds or a tornado from the storms on June 13,” the agency said.