The National Weather Service confirmed on Thursday that a tornado touched down in Wilkes-Barre Township on Wednesday night, damaging local businesses.
The National Weather Service sent a storm survey team from its Binghamton, New York office to assess the damage.
The team determined a tornado touched down near the Wyoming Valley Mall near Interstate 81 at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. It traveled about half a mile before dissipating about an hour later.
At its peak, the tornado reached an estimated maximum wind speed of 130 miles per hour. The National Weather Service determined it was an EF2 tornado.
Stan Davis, public information officer for the Keystone Incident Management team, said more than 12 buildings suffered damage ranging from superficial to partial collapse. Some power poles were snapped and six people had minor injuries.
“They were very lucky in that the event happened at about 9:30 in the evening,” Davis said. “If it had happened three hours earlier, the stores, the restaurants all would have had a more significant presence of personnel.”
He also said this tornado is a rare incident for the area.
“This is the first one that anybody can remember that has touched down here in Wilkes Barre Township,” he said.
The storm survey team also confirmed a tornado occurred in Bradford County on Wednesday afternoon.