Tornado confirmed in Delco among severe storms, residents continue clean up

KYW Staff
November 01, 2019 - 8:02 am
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UPDATED: 7:20 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The National Weather Service out of Mount Holly, N.J., has confirmed that an EF2 tornado touched down near Glen Mills, Pa., on Thursday night.

The weather service said the tornado was embedded within a swath of straight line winds, causing serious damage in Delaware County.

In Glen Mills, several houses were ravaged, with roofs ripped off, porches torn to shreds, and trees down all over. Giant trees were uprooted and tossed over the road. 

The Delaware County director of emergency services said that, while several families have been forced to leave their homes, fortunately nobody was seriously injured. However, it might be a while before anyone can return to their badly damages homes.

Dorinda Shank and her husband said they had just recently paid off the mortgage on of those homes. She says they are lucky because their bedroom was the adjacent to the room where the roof was torn off.

The morning after Halloween, it was still a bit spooky in Ambler, Montgomery County. The power was out at the train station and along Main Street. And many people were waiting in their cars early in the morning, because they were the only source of light. 

Nearby, a 100-foot tree was ripped from the ground and slammed into a house on Tennis Avenue just before midnight. Officials say two people were trapped inside, pinned down in their bedroom.

Neighbor Sharon McCormick went outside after she heard the big boom and couldn’t believe her eyes.

"It must have taken some kind of force to get that out of the ground. The chief said it was out of the ground six feet in the air in the back so it’s almost like it was lifted and put on that house," McCormick said.

She says the man is 80 and his wife is 70, and the couple is loved in the neighborhood. She says everyone was hoping they would be okay.

"It was a little bit scary," she said. "Forty-five minutes of trying to get them out is unbelievable. I couldn’t imagine being trapped like that."

But she credits the firefighters with the Wissahickon Fire Company for rescuing the two. A grandson said they got treatment at the hospital and they're expected to be okay.

In Montgomery County, the roads were littered with debris: tree branches large and small, leaves, garbage that may have blown away from some of the trash cans in the neighborhoods. Something's always clanking off the car when driving around. 

SEPTA Regional Rail service was a mess because of Thursday night's storm. Authorities advise commuters to expect overcrowding and skipped stations.

SEPTA Assistant General Manager Scott Sauer says, first, crews have to wait for downed power lines to be moved.

"Obviously we wait for PECO or our own forces to come in and remove whatever hazard is there due to the fallen wires," he said. "But then it's cutting and hauling away these trees."

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KYW's Tim Jimenez and Mike Dougherty contributed to this report.