Tornado hits Kingsley
BY PETER CAMERON and BORIS KRAWCZENIUK
The strong storm front that passed through the area last week spawned an F1 tornado that touched down in Kingsley on Tuesday (July 8), according to National Weather Service.
The tornado downed trees and power lines leaving some area residents in dark for days.
No injuries or fatalities were reported in Kingsley, where the storm hit around 7:05 p.m., said meteorologist Joanne LaBounty, but some buildings were damaged from falling trees.
The twister, which had estimated wind speeds of 90 mph, was an F1, the second-weakest on the F0-5 scale, which is based on estimated wind speed.
The tornado had a width of 150 yards and cut a 1.4-mile path on the ground.
Clean-up continued through the week, as Penelec and Claverack crews worked to restore power for thousands of residents.
Following the storm, the roar of chain saws buzzed through the air as Rebecca Mordent pointed with relief to the oldest house in Kingsley, the one she calls home.
Next to it stood that old maple tree that the home’s builder and village founder, Rufus Kingsley, himself planted more than 200 years ago here on Mill Street.
The high winds that knocked out power to thousands across Northeast Pennsylvania on Tuesday night sheared part of the Rufus Kingsley tree’s top, dropping some of its larger limbs onto the Mordent home and plopping a foot-high chunk of chimney into her yard.
Elsewhere in Mordent’s neighborhood, the winds uprooted one tree after another Tuesday. They dropped huge limbs onto Journey Lane’s Chevrolet Cobalt and a friend’s Dodge Ram pickup truck. They tipped one huge tree onto its side like a toy, its roots and accompanying earth standing like a wall. The winds plunked massive limbs onto Dick Masters’ garage and partially crushed it.
“It’s a disaster,” Mordent, 53, said, then quickly thought it could have been worse.
Sure, the electricity was out because fallen trees and limbs ripped down power lines. That meant no appliances for cooking and no water because well pumps need electricity to pump water to faucets. But mostly the dozen or so trees that fell did so into empty spaces, not onto homes, and nobody got hurt.
“Nobody,” Mordent said. “So that is the power of the good Lord. And if you don’t believe in miracles, this is a miracle. So I have electrical work that needs to be done and I move on.”
Across Northeast Pennsylvania on Wednesday, emergency management agency officials reported no injuries and expressed relief the storm wasn’t worse, though thousands of people dealt with a lack of power.
The American Red Cross opened cooling shelters, including one at the Kingsley Community Church, where about 133 individuals were served throughout the day on July 10. The Red Cross provided bottled ice, bottled water and snacks to those affected by the storm, as well as breakfast sandwiches and coffee. About 95 people were served an evening meal at the center.
The National Weather Service also confirmed a tornado touched down near New Albany in Bradford County, as well as tornados in New York.
Winds reached speeds of 40 to 60 mph during the storm’s peak, AccuWeather said. The area got another dousing Wednesday, with an average of about a quarter to a half inch of rain in cloudbursts around the region, AccuWeather meteorologist Andy Mussoline estimated.
Staff Writer Staci Wilson contributed to this report.