Tornado warnings and watches were a familiar sight for many as severe storms scattered across Pennsylvania late yesterday afternoon. Large hail was reported along with damage to cars, homes and businesses. A damage assessment team from the National Weather Service was sent to Caernarvon Township and Morgantown, PA, the Pennsylvania areas hit hardest by the severe weather. They confirmed that an EF2 tornado touched down in Berks County on Tuesday, May 28. An EF2 tornado ranges in speed from 111-135 mph.
Team BFW had a busy night providing support, comfort and peace of mind to those affected by the tragedy last night. One of our team leaders on the scene, John Perella, was impressed with the amount of people that came out to help clean up. “It seemed like every fire company within the surrounding 30 miles was there last night, from Exton to Twin Valley.” Our team members donated 30 cases of water to help the many fire companies who are out in the heat today cleaning up the damage.
There was significant structural damage to a number of homes in the Valley Ponds development in Morgantown, and our team was on the scene working to board up the damaged house in that area. Check out this video coverage from CBSPhilly to see footage and hear first-hand accounts from those affected by the tornado. Our own Accounting Manager, Vince Mitsky, was personally affected by the weather, as his car was completely destroyed by the tornado. Watch this video for a recap of his experience, and view footage of his car being destroyed during the tornado on national news from Fox43.
During a press conference the night of the tornado, the Chief of Caernarvon Township Police Department, John W. Scalia, reported that as many as a dozen people were displaced. Thankfully, it is estimated by the Valley Ponds development homeowners association that around 70% of the homes are still livable and thankfully no injuries have been reported.
Our on call team on the scene last night after the tornado ripped through Valley ponds development in Morgantown.
A scene from the roof of an affected house that our crew is working on in Morgantown, PA.
A photo depicting the devastation from the tornado.
Tips For Staying Safe
According to the National Climatic Data Center, there have been 170 tornadoes recorded in Pennsylvania within the last 10 years. Check out these tips from ReadyPA.org to see how to best prepare for tornadoes and severe storms. We also recommend viewing this resource from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to learn how to stay as safe as possible.
Warm moist air from the south and cool dry air from the north creates instability that produces severe thunderstorms and makes tornadoes possible. If you are located in an area with this weather, it is important to know the differences between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible within an area due to favorable conditions and you should be prepared to take action, while a tornado warning means that a tornado has been detected and sighted and you should seek shelter immediately.
In the event that you are in an area under a tornado warning you should move away from any windows. It is best to locate yourself inside an interior room. If you have a basement, this is the ideal place to stay safe throughout the duration of the tornado warning. If you do not have a basement, it is recommended to seek shelter inside your bathtub. Also, be sure to protect your head and neck.
Severe weather alerts are still in affect for our area tonight, including a tornado watch until 8 PM and a flash flood watch until 2 AM Thursday morning. You can sign up for alerts here so you can be as prepared as possible.
If you were in an area affected by storms, be sure to inspect your roofs and report any suspected damage, such as hail damage for example, to your insurance agent as soon as possible.