Strong winds damage areas of county during storm
According to the National Weather Service, the damages in Warren and Forest counties were likely the result of straight-line winds of up to 75 miles per hour, not tornadoes.
“We’re leaning toward calling it straight-line wind damage,” Meteorologist Craig Evanego of the National Weather Service in State College said.
The agency received reports of winds of 70-to-75 miles per hour, but there were no indications on radar that showed rotation, he said.
Straight-line winds of that speed will “definitely knock down things in its path,” Evanego said.
The damages in Warren County reportedly centered on Pittsfield Township.
“It sounds like there were large trees knocked down in one direction,” he said. There was “damage to the roof of a home. A barn was destroyed.”
The damage was highly localized to an area off Lauger Hill Road in northern Pittsfield Township. “It’s really a narrow band of straight-line wind,” Warren County Deputy Emergency Management Agency Director Scott Rose said.
“The sheriff’s office went up there,” Rose said. “They put them in touch with the Red Cross. They were taken care of.”
At that location, numerous large trees along the road were uprooted. Other nearby trees were knocked down and broken off.
None of that damage is inconsistent with straight-line wind. “That’s what we’re leaning toward,” Evanego said.
The agency is relying heavily on local reports, especially from Warren County Emergency Management Agency. With restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the NWS did not send a team to survey the damages.
Forest County falls in the National Weather Service’s Pittsburgh region.
Meteorologist Lee Hendricks said there were numerous trees down centered on Route 666 between East Hickory and Endeavor.
The storm went through shortly before midnight, Hendricks said.
“What it looks like from our radar, at that time, all of the storms were straight line winds,” he said.
The storms hit Mercer and Venango counties, before moving into Forest and Warren. There were high winds in Pittsburgh earlier. “Allegheny County Airport reported 53 knots — 60 miles per hour, and Greater Pittsburgh Airport reported 60 knots — 75 miles per hour,” Hendricks said. “We’re using that as our stick for this.”
“It was an interesting system, how fast things were developing,” he said. “A lot of these storms were moving at 60 to 65 miles per hours.”
Other than that, it was just a strong spring storm, Hendricks said. “Thunderstorms, through their usual morphology, collapse and you have trees down.”