Storm leaves path of destruction after 'dangerous tornado' spotted in Philadelphia region

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6abc Philadelphia 29 July, 2021 - 08:03pm 29 views

Was there a derecho in Wisconsin?

Derechos occur only a few times a year in the U.S. Two derechos traveled nearly 1,000 miles in July 2019, spanning South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Winds leveled trees in the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest and hit northern and central Wisconsin especially hard. Milwaukee Journal SentinelLast night's storms in southern Wisconsin were strong, but they did not meet the definition of a derecho

Severe storm causes widespread damage in Lehigh County, Pa.

WPVI-TV 29 July, 2021 - 11:23pm

Severe storm causes widespread damage in Lehigh Valley

Several of the tornadoes were confirmed on radar because of the large debris field.

A line of severe weather left behind a path of destruction after at least one tornado touched down in the Philadelphia region Thursday night.

Two tornadoes touched down in Bucks County on Thursday. They left a path of destruction

Bucks County Courier Times 29 July, 2021 - 01:53pm

"I have been doing this for 34 years, I haven't seen that sort of devastation from a storm."

Five people were hurt, but officials said there were no deaths or life-threatening injuries. On Thursday night, they were still assessing the damage and did not know how many residents had been displaced nor how many homes and businesses were seriously damaged beyond Faulkner's Toyota dealership on Street Road.

Crews from the Trevose Fire and Eddington Fire companies worked through the debris to enter the partially collapsed building at Faulkner and said later that they cleared the dealership, and all persons were accounted for.

Outside, the ground was covered with shattered glass and strewn building insulation.

Faulkner employee Anthony Perez said a weather alert sounded on his phone "seconds" before the building where he was working was hit. Harrowing video shows the moment the wind tore into the building.

Perez and a group of coworkers and customers took cover inside a car. 

"The car was the only thing that saved us," one customer said. "It protected us." 

They heard glass breaking all around them, and then the roof collapsed. 

"It was seconds," the customer said. "It felt like hours, but it was seconds." 

Harran said four of the five injured were at the dealership. The fifth was at a business on Metropolitan Drive. None were critically injured. 

The areas of Metropolitan Drive off Street Road; the Faulkner dealerships; the Linconia and Concord Park neighborhoods and Penn Valley Terrace all sustained "substantial damage," he said.

This storm ripped through the area of Old Lincoln Highway around 7:13 p.m.

First responders will spend the night going door to door in impacted neighborhoods and crews will work to clear road ways in the Old Lincoln Highway corridor, Harran said.

“I was inside. I could hear like, animals jumping on the roof. The lights went on and off. People were scared and crying,” said Cesar Vanegas of Philadelphia, who saw the roof  leaking.

Outside, as Walmart employees cleared bundles of hay and other debris strewn through the parking lot, one employee said that baseball-sized hail broke an employee's car window.

Joanne Szupka, of Willow Grove, was inside the Volvo dealership off Street Road when the building collapsed.

“I heard the alarm on my phone and it was seconds later that we felt something happening to the building,” said Szupka. She dove under a desk and had to be pulled out of the building.

Her car was inside the destroyed building.

Nearby, the vinyl fence protecting the mobile home park was ripped from the ground and strewn across Old Lincoln Highway with some fence pieces landing on the opposite side of the road. 

Debbie and Steve Smith, of Aster Lane in the mobile park, found an exit sign for the Pennsylvania Turnpike in their backyard along with pieces of what they believe were the roof of nearby Faulkner buildings.

Roads in Neshaminy Valley section of Bensalem were heavily flooded Thursday night.

Pasqualone Boulevard near Bristol Road in Bensalem had at least two feet of water on it and other roads were barely passable in the Springdale development not far from the mall.

Closer to the Delaware River and more than 20 miles away from Bensalem, communities saw damage in the first tornado that touchdown at 5:51 p.m.

Plumstead Township resident Sylwia Dyl heard the storm before she saw it.

When she looked outside and saw her furniture flying across the porch, she rushed her two kids in the basement and tried to calm them.

When they emerged from the basement, her shed was gone. Her kids’ new trampoline was embedded in the side of the family’s new RV. About eight trees where down, a few snapped in half. Then she noticed a leak inside; when she and her husband climbed on the roof, they noticed extensive damage.

“See the pieces on the ground there,” said Dyl, pointing to plastic panels in her backyard. “That was my shed.”

In the aftermath of the tornado, police and utility workers lined Ridgeview Road where the storm battered a section of the township near Solebury. Trees closed several roads and knocked down power lines.

“This area got hit hard,” said Plumstead Township police Officer Bob Lawn, who was surveying the damage and making sure residents were safe.

Shortly before 6 p.m., the NWS said a "confirmed dangerous tornado was located near Lumberville, or 16 miles northwest of Trenton, moving southeast at 25 mph."

The tornado activity seemed to be tracking along the Delaware River from New Hope through Washington Crossing and heading across into New Jersey.

Soon after another storm cell was reported and the second tornado hit Bensalem.

By 9 p.m. Thursday, PECO had reported about 6,383 customers were left without power throughout Bucks County, with Bensalem alone accounting for 1,624 of those outages.

Lower Southampton saw the highest total power outages, with 2,434 customers, nearly 28% of all PECO customers in the township, without service. 

Jane Vitart, owner of C'est La Vie French Bakery & Café in New Hope who lives above her Main Street bakery, said at 6:02 p.m. the scene was "really unbelievable” with her bakery’s chairs knocked over by the wind. Rain was pouring and it was dark enough that she couldn't see past the Delaware River, she said.

Upper Bucks County, including Quakertown and Richland, was under a warning earlier Thursday, but the alert passed.

Tornado Warning including Fairless Hills PA, Doylestown PA, Lambertville NJ until 6:15 PM EDT pic.twitter.com/smJKWVJENq

Earlier this month, flooding from a storm damaged homes in Lower Bucks, largely in Bristol Borough, Bristol Township and Bensalem. 

This assessment will likely continue for a couple more hours and we’ll together determine whether a we need to open a shelter nearby tonight or everyone who has been displaced has a place to go for the night.

At this time anyone who needs shelter can come to the Neshaminy Mall or call 1-800-RED-CROSS

1:28pm CDT #SPC_Watch WW 401 TORNADO DE MD NJ PA CW 291825Z - 300100Z, #dewx #mdwx #njwx #pawx #cwwx, https://t.co/HaGR0yUm7L pic.twitter.com/ZgMkJl2vql

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