Storm that Crossed PA Turnpike Took a Toll
$7 Million in Damages Sustained in Path of Fast-Moving Storm
(LITITZ, PA-dr-feelgoods.com)-A powerful storm that crossed the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Saturday caused an estimated $7 million dollars in damage along a 9-mile path in three central Pennsylvania townships. Homes and structures were damaged along the 1/2-mile-wide path through Clay, Cocalico, and Elizabeth townships in central Pennsylvania but no injuries or fatalities were reported. GALLERY: WAS IT A TORNADO OVER LITITZ?
The Lancaster Emergency Management Agency released a map today detailing locations of damage that meteorologists from the National Weather Service in State College believe were not the product of a tornado, but rather that of a microburst that blasted high winds, hail, and heavy rain throughout the residential and rural region located between Pennsylvania Turnpike exits 266 (Lebanon/Lancaster) and 286 (Reading).
The map was compiled using data from 911 calls (blue dots) and observations by investigators (red dots) after the storm. The National Weather Service investigated the damage on Sunday, February 26, and issued two preliminary statements after inspecting the area. The first NWS statement indicated that the damage was believed to be caused by straight-line winds between 75-95 mph in the region. A second statement issued by NWS on 2/27/17 confirmed microburst/straight-line wind caused the damage, but revised the estimated wind speed downward to between 70-95 mph. As of the time of publication, no final statement has been issued on the Clay storm. NWS has been reviewing photos and video from the storm to rule out the possibility of a tornado.
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Damage areas outlined on the LEMA map correspond to outages reported to PPL Electric and reflected on their outage map that showed over 4,000 people without power, as posted to our dr-feelgoods.com Twitter page just after the storm impacted the area.
Lancaster County emergency management coordinator Randy Gockley indicated this afternoon that he is not aware of any damage to the turnpike from the storm. The PA Turnpike Commission has not yet responded to a request for confirmation made late this afternoon.