LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A storm survey team from the National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado is responsible for wind damage in East Hempfield Township early Wednesday.
The weather service said the tornado touched down twice near Rohrerstown. It was rated an EF-1 on the enhanced Fujita scale and had peak winds of 90 to 100 mph.
The survey team used a helicopter to track a path that was a mile-and-a-half long and 50 to 75 yards wide.
“What we saw up there was pretty convincing as far as making our determination,” meterologist Matt Steinbugl said. “There was a lot of tree damage.”
The most significant wind damage is to a warehouse at 499 Running Pump Road. The building which houses about 10 businesses has considerable damage to the roof and north side. Debris was blown onto Route 30.
“Doors are torn off. Big overhead garage doors are torn off,” office manager Markley Roth said. “Our wall was pushed in and sucked in a foot into the next building beside us.”
Two employees were inside the warehouse when the tornado hit. No injuries were reported.
“I didn’t get to talk to them to much with all the commotion that was here this morning,” Roth said. “They were fine. They were pretty darn lucky.”
Township police said their officers responded to about 40 different weather-related incidents between 12:30 and 3:30 a.m.
Power outages were reported in several neighborhoods, and numerous trees and wires were downed on private property and residential streets.
One tree smashed a Chevrolet Tahoe owned by Ed Shenk’s parents.
“The front fender is pretty much gone,” Shenk said.
Other residents are left with a huge mess.
“There was a real loud bang where the trees hit the back of the house,” Cher Breneisne said. “I woke up and I heard all this stuff hitting the side of the house and I looked out and trees were bent over. It was awful.”