By JENNIFER FITCH
8:54 PM EDT, August 27, 2012
A tornado with winds reaching 85 mph struck Franklin County, Pa., on Sunday afternoon, National Weather Service officials confirmed Monday.
The path of the tornado was about six miles long and 100 yards wide. Investigators believe it moved forward with a speed of 35 mph.
The tornado has been classified as an EF0, the weakest on the measurement scale, according to Craig Evanego, a meteorologist based in State College, Pa.
The tornado that occurred from about 1:56 to 2:07 p.m. Sunday traveled off Williamsport Pike in the Greencastle area. It left sporadic tree, crop and roof damage in its wake, allowing investigators to look at its route and pattern.
“There were no injuries,” Evanego said.
National Weather Service records indicate Franklin County’s last tornado occurred May 26, 2011, in the New Franklin area. That tornado was classified as an EF1.
“Last year was a busy year for tornadoes,” Evanego said. “We had a lot across central Pennsylvania.”
Faye Stouffer, of 1301 Preston Lane, described hearing the tornado that ripped an antenna from her house and toppled a tree in her yard.
“All of a sudden, (there was) one big noise, and wind took everything. It was sort of like a train sound or roar,” she said Sunday.
The storm uprooted a large tree at 3420 Williamson Road and caused other damage to properties on Williamson, Enoch Brown and Guitner roads. It toppled bricks from a sign at Shanks Church of the Brethren.
Dave Donohue, director of the Franklin County (Pa.) Department of Emergency Services, said in an email Monday night that the storm was moving too fast to use the county’s South Central Alert system.
“The indicators of the tornado were so quick that the warning came out too late to utilize the system,” Donohue said. “We did alert the emergency-response community when the NWS issued (its) alert, but at that time, the storm was already in full force and moving.
“It did make those in the path aware that it was moving, but not the area impacted,” he said.
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