National Weather Service confirms tornado touched down in Wilkes-Barre

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

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

A powerful storm struck a shopping plaza late Wednesday night while the area was under a tornado warning.

UPDATE (1:53 p.m.) The National Weather Service in Binghamton has confirmed that the tornado that ripped through Wilkes-Barre township has been classified as an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

"I was washing dishes in the back, my manager had us secure the doors", Bruno Isles, a worker at a Panera Bread in the area, told the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.

"I never seen anything like this in my life", township Mayor Carl Kuren said.

A tornado caused about $3,000 worth of damage on June 14, 1966 in Wayne County, Mich. In Wilkes-Barre, city and county officials had closed roads around the damaged shopping centers because of downed power lines and damage to a propane cylinder that was still leaking as of midmorning Thursday. "It affected between a half-mile and mile radius of mostly business interests". "We had no idea what was going on", Frie said. Similar photos surfaced Thursday morning from Granville, Franklin and Leroy townships about 90 miles (144.83 kilometers) further north of Wilkes-Barre showing collapsed structures and shattered windows.

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Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency volunteer Garrett Hittle said crews were working to stabilize the propane cylinder by off gassing the contents.

The storm injured 22 people.

"Our goal here is to try to get all the utilities up and make things safe, and to try and get our businesses up and running as soon as possible", Pashinski said.

The National Weather Service was also assessing the scene Thursday in an effort to determine if a tornado did in fact touch down, as officials at the scene said they suspected.

U-Haul trucks parked on Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., are damaged after a strong storm moved through the area on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

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