NWS confirms twister in Mercer County

MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) – Severe weather triggered a tornado warning Tuesday afternoon in Mercer County.

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh confirmed an EF-1 twister touched down in Hoagland, Pa., which is located just west of Mercer borough and north of Interstate 80. The storm then headed for Jackson Center, where straight-line winds created quite a mess.

The storm created a damage path about 2 miles long, with the most visible damage in Jackson Center, a small Mercer County borough located along Route 62 just east of Interstate 79.
I talked to some of the people about what happened.

When the storm whistled through Mercer County, the winds were whipping. Tall trees fell over, and some were snapped in half or major branches were broken off. The people of Jackson Center heard the tornado warnings, including Don Ansel, who was 2 miles away from where a porch roof flipped over onto his mother-in-law’s house.

“My mother-in-law’s sister called and a fireman answers the phone. She called us and high-tailed it and a neighbor said her sister had pocked her up,” Ansel said.

Along Route 62, more trees were down and they even brought down power lines.

Don and Debbie Altman bought their house six weeks ago. They were running for the basement as the storm came through. There were three reasons why they bought the house: Two trees that are now down, and a fence that is broken.

“Really we didn’t feel nothing. But when we looked on our way to the basement, saw the back porch roof lifting and the sides of it swinging around, he saw a tree go down,” Debbie Altman said.

On Walnut Street, Vincent United Methodist Church remains standing just as it has since 1898. The church’s garage was moved 6 feet off its foundation.

Right next door, Paul Lough was heading home from work when the storm hit. He pulled into his driveway and saw a temporary roof blown off his trailer and up against his neighbor’s house.

“It could have been a lot worse. If this is the worst part of the storm that went through here, then everything is good,” Lough said.

The cleanup is just beginning and will take some time to clear all the debris and get the power restored. There were still 381 residents without power as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. A tree that was knocked over landed on a pickup and just smashed it.

Everyone our crews talked to said they heard the tornado warning. They were curious and stayed outside until the last possible second to watch before running for cover.

They said the storm moved through very quickly. It hit and was gone.

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