Tornadoes spur injuries, damage in eastern Pennsylvania

BENSALEM, Pa. (AP) — At least five people were injured when severe weather struck an auto dealership, homes and other businesses in eastern Pennsylvania, authorities said.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes touched down Thursday in Bucks County, including an EF-3 twister that hit in Bensalem and contained top winds of 140 mph. The tornado sent trees falling and debris flying, while thunderous downpours flooded streets and roadways.

“I have been doing this for 34 years, I haven’t seen that sort of devastation from a storm,” said Bensalem Police Public Safety Director Fred Harran.

One of those tornadoes damaged the auto dealership and a mobile home park, news outlets reported.

Four people were injured at the dealership and a fifth was hurt at a nearby business, Harran told reporters in a nighttime news conference. All injuries were considered non-life-threatening, he said.

A video posted on Twitter shows a building at the dealership collapsed, with emergency sirens ringing.

Anthony Perez, an employee at the dealership, told The Courier Times of Bucks County that a weather alert sounded on his phone just before the tornado hit.

“At that point, we were looking for shelter,” he said. “Everything was in a flash.”

Harran said authorities would work through the night to help people secure housing or return to their homes, restore power outages and clear the roadways, which were littered with debris after the tornadoes blew through.

“We’re going to have Friday morning rush hour in that area, which has a lot of traffic,” Harran said.

Severe weather was a concern around the region Thursday, with the NWS issuing warnings in New Jersey and Ohio as well. At least three tornados touched down Thursday in New Jersey, and survey teams are still checking other damage left behind as the storms crossed the Delaware River and moved across the state.

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