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NWS confirms EF-2 tornado in Wilkes-Barre Twp.

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    The corner was removed off a Barnes & Noble Booksellers off Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Township, PA, and a path of damage can be seen as inspectors look around the building Thursday, June, 14, 2018. Township officials are waiting for the National Weather Service to visit the area to confirm whether or not it was a tornado which caused the damage. (AP/Jimmy May)

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    Debris is scattered in a parking lot near the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., after a powerful storm moved through the area on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.A strong storm has pounded parts of Pennsylvania, damaging buildings, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines. (Christopher Dolan/The Citizens’ Voice via AP)

Published June 14. 2018 07:23AM

WILKES-BARRE (AP) — The National Weather Service investigators have confirmed that an EF-2 tornado ripped through Wilkes-Barre Township Wednesday night, causing damage to stores in a shopping plaza.

State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) issued the following statement after it was confirmed that an EF-2 tornado hit Wilkes-Barre Township, “Touring the tornado damage today in Wilkes-Barre Township with Gov. Wolf and Mayor Kuren, I cannot help but be profoundly grateful that there was no loss of life or serious personal injuries.”

Senator Yudichak was near the tornado corridor last night with his family watching his oldest daughter play field hockey at the Kings College athletic fields. The games were canceled around 9:30 p.m., and the tornado touched down at 10:06 p.m. after the families safely vacated the area.

“You have to think of it as the miracle on Mundy Street when you consider that the area where the tornado hit is generally populated with thousands of employees, customers, and hundreds of young athletes,” added Yudichak.

“Our job now, at all levels of government, is to quickly work with the damaged businesses and help them rebuild so we can get every displaced worker back to work and our economy growing again.”

Township police wrote on their Facebook page that there were reports of “multiple collapsed buildings.” They asked drivers to avoid the area to allow emergency personnel access to the shopping plaza.

Photos posted on social media show shattered storefronts and major damage to businesses, including a Panera Bread restaurant and a Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Debris lay scattered in parking lots and on streets and sidewalks.

Cars were overturned and trees and power lines were knocked down.

There were no injuries.

Bruno Isles, a Panera employee, told the (Wilkes-Barre) Times Leader that he was washing dishes in the back of the restaurant at the time.

“My manager had us secure the doors,” he said. “We had tables and chairs flying through the windows.”

Isles said he suffered a minor scrape on his arm while he helped to get other people in the restaurant to safety.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania took to Twitter and urged people in the path of the storm to stay safe and “please heed the warnings and follow the directions of local officials.”

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