Possible Tornado Collapses Multiple Buildings, Overturns Cars in Pennsylvania

Damaged cars are parked in a debris filled lot on Mundy Street near the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania, after a possible tornado moved through the area on late Wednesday night.

((Christopher Dolan/The Citizens’ Voice via AP))

At a Glance

  • A possible tornado left behind a path of damage in northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • Wilkes-Barre Township saw multiple buildings collapse and cars overturned during the storm.
  • A few minor injuries have been reported so far.

A possible tornado tore through parts of Pennsylvania late Wednesday night, overturning cars, damaging businesses and knocking down trees and power lines.

The Wilkes-Barre Township shopping plaza was hit especially hard by the strong storm. Dave Skutnik, the Regional Director of Communications for the Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania said that a “few minor injuries” have been reported so far.

Township police wrote on their Facebook page that there were reports of “multiple collapsed buildings.” They asked drivers to avoid the area to allow emergency personnel access to the shopping plaza.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Photos posted on social media show shattered storefronts and major damage to businesses including a Panera Bread restaurant and a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Debris lay scattered in parking lots and on streets and sidewalks.

Bruno Isles, a Panera employee, told the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader that he was washing dishes in the back of the restaurant at the time.

“My manager had us secure the doors,” he said. “We had tables and chairs flying through the windows.”

Isles said he suffered a minor scrape on his arm while he helped to get other people in the restaurant to safety.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania took to Twitter and urged people in the path of the storm to stay safe and “please heed the warnings and follow the directions of local officials.”

The National Weather Service said it would be in Wilkes-Barre Township on Thursday to survey the damage and determine whether it was a tornado that touched down.