Friday, February 26, 2016

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Powerful Storm System Blows Through Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Spawning Two Tornadoes - FIRST EVER February EF-2 In State History; Dozens Of Buildings Damaged OVER A FIVE-MILE STRETCH; Amish Schoolhouse OBLITERATED; Two 600-FOOT Chicken Houses FLATTENED; $8 MILLION In Damages To At Least 50 STRUCTURES; Many Trees Uprooted; Several Cars TOSSED; Residents Say "It Was Quite UNUSUAL,... A Lot More Damage Than Expected"! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Aerial image of destruction left by a tornado that touched down in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
(Photo: Matt Rourke/AP)

February 26, 2016 - PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES - A powerful storm that blew through Pennsylvania spawned at least two tornadoes, one that damaged dozens of buildings over a 5-mile stretch of rural Lancaster County, including homes, barns and an Amish schoolhouse obliterated by 100 mph winds.

The National Weather Service also confirmed Thursday that a tornado touched down near Wyalusing in Bradford County, where several buildings were reported damaged.

The tornado that hit eastern Lancaster County left a quarter-mile-wide swath of damage through Salisbury Township, tossing cars, uprooting huge trees and toppling 300-year-old grave markers. Two 600-foot chicken houses containing 16,000 birds were flattened, while cattle and other livestock became trapped in the rubble of collapsed barns.

Officials said the twister - classified as an EF2, meaning wind speeds fell in the 111 to 135 mph range - caused about $8 million in damage to 50 structures.

People clean up in the aftermath of a storm Thursday in Gap, Lancaster County. A tornado touched down near this area, in Salisbury Township,
Wednesday night, the National Weather Service said.
(Photo: Matt Rourke/AP)

"There had to be some real strong winds to blow these trees uphill," said Mark Friedenfeld, who is seen here making his way through some of the trees that
were knocked down on top of his York Township home following Wednesday night's storm. 
Jason Plotkin,York Daily Record

"There is a lot more damage than we expected," said White Horse Fire Chief Randy Gossert.

Hundreds of people, mostly from the Amish community, gathered at a fire station Thursday to get their cleanup and rebuilding assignments. A crew was already at work rebuilding an Amish schoolhouse, which roofer Derek Cummings said looked like had been hit by a bomb. He said it was hoped the 1,200-square-foot, one-story school could be rebuilt in a week.

Steps away from the school, as many as 200 Amish had taken refuge in a barn as the tornado passed through Wednesday night. Emergency management officials said they had no reports of deaths or injuries.

WATCH: Aerial Footage of First Ever February EF-2 Tornado in PA History.

A family that lives near a collapsed building in Lancaster County hid in their basement during the storm.

"We got alerts on our phone and it was quite unusual," Galen Huyard said. "So we hit the basement, and we stayed down there until we thought it was clear."

"We heard a gush of wind and that was about it," his wife, Caroline Huyard, said. - YDR.

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