Tornado damage tallied in PA

Residents in eastern Pennsylvania continue to recover after a tornado.

BY HEATHER MOYER | MOUNTAIN TOP, Pa. | December 11, 2006

Residents of more than 60 homes in eastern Pennsylvania continue to recover almost two weeks after a tornado ripped through the area.

An F2 tornado left a 26-mile path of damage across Luzerne County, Penn., on December 1. Steve Bekanich, coordinator of the county's emergency management agency, said 60 or so homes suffered some degree of damage, while seven or eight were completely destroyed.

"The area where this occurred was pretty rural, but we are talking in the millions of dollars in debris removal costs alone," said Bekanich. "We really don't have a lot of the damage totals compiled yet. We're working on it."

The destroyed homes were trailers in a mobile home park, and Bekanich said the affected families are receiving help from the local chapters of the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

Three of the homes were cut in half when trees fell on them.

The hardest hit areas were in Fairview and Wright townships, near the community of Mountain Top. The area is just south of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The F2 tornado was the first ever to hit the state in December, Bekanish said. The twister was 200 yards wide at some points and while it left damage across a 26-mile path, he added, it skipped along and was really only on the ground for eight or nine miles total.

The tornado damage added onto some localized damage from flash flooding in mid-November.

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