2017-08-10 / Front Page

Tornado Touches Down In Needmore Area

STAFF REPORT


This cluster of 15 downed trees near Needmore about 100 yards north of the intersection of routes 522 and 655 north are some of the 150 trees felled or damaged by Friday evening’s EF1 tornado. The cluster is evidence of a concentrated rear flank downdraft, according to a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service who surveyed the tornado’s path on Saturday . This cluster of 15 downed trees near Needmore about 100 yards north of the intersection of routes 522 and 655 north are some of the 150 trees felled or damaged by Friday evening’s EF1 tornado. The cluster is evidence of a concentrated rear flank downdraft, according to a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service who surveyed the tornado’s path on Saturday . The National Weather Service in State College has confirmed a weak tornado with winds up to 100 mph touched down near Pleasant Grove Road in Belfast Township on Friday, August 4, at 5:55 p.m. and traveled to the northeast. The tornado was classified as an EF1 on a scale of 0 to five. No injuries or fatalities were reported.

The storm’s rotation was first spotted on radar by the Weather Service in State College, and an emergency tornado warning was issued for Fulton County, activating the county emergency management service.

According to senior meteorologist Barry Lambert of the Weather Service’s State College Office, who surveyed the area Saturday, the storm lasted for about five minutes, snapping and uprooting several swaths of trees along its path. It was estimated that approximately 150 trees were snapped or downed by the tornado.

The greatest concentration of downed trees was on the properties of brothers Alan and Gary Gregory near Needmore along Pleasant Grove Road, the downwind side of a steep 200-foot hill just to the west of Pleasant Ridge Road (state Route 655) and near the end of the tornado’s path on the properties of brothers Cecil and Willard Mellott.

Lambert also reported evidence of a concentrated rear flank downdraft, in the form of a small cluster of about 15 downed trees, several of which blocked the road about 100 yards to the north of the intersection of U.S. Route 522 and state Route 655. This was about one-half mile to the south of the greatest tornado damage.

The tornado’s path was about 200 yards wide and 1.27 miles long and lasted about five minutes. Lambert said the Needmore tornado was moving along the ground at about 20 mph and had vortex winds of about 80 mph.

The tornado was associated with storms developing ahead of a strong cold front that swept through the county, knocking out power to 2,700 West Penn Power customers here and in southern Bedford County. Valley Electic Co-op customers in the tornado area also lost power.

Tornadoes are fairly common in Pennsylvania from late spring to early fall when there’s the right amount of instability in the air, according to Lambert.

More information about the storm may be found at weather.gov/StateCollege.

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