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Severe Storms July 26, 2012

Tornado Confirmed in Foster Township in Luzerne County Pennsylvania

  • Location: Foster Township, Just South Of Freeland Immediately East Of The Hazel Township Line.
  • Date: July 26, 2012
  • Estimated Time: 5:44 PM EDT
  • Maximum EF-Scale Rating: EF-1
  • Estimated Maximum Wind Speed: 95-100 MPH
  • Maximum Path Width: 75 Yards
  • Path Length: 0.1 Miles
  • Beginning Lat/Lon: 41.01n / 75.90w
  • Ending Lat/Lon: 41.01n / 75.89w
  • Fatalities: 0
  • Injuries: 0


The National Weather Service in Binghamton, NY has confirmed a tornado near Foster Township in Luzerne County Pennsylvania on July 26, 2012. A supercell thunderstorm moved into southern Luzerne county at approximately 5:05 PM EDT from east-central Columbia county. As the storm entered the county, dopper radar indicated a tight cyclonic circulation contained within the storm's mid-levels. As the storm traveled east, numerous trees were downed or uprooted just south of Sybertsville in the township of Sugerloaf. Reports from local Emergency Management Officials indicate that all tree damage in this location was oriented in the same direction, consistent with straight line wind damage. As the storm traveled east, extensive tree damage occurred in Butler Township along east Foothills Drive, immediately east of Route 309. Again, downed trees were oriented all in the same direction, consistent with straight line wind damage with winds estimated between 90-100 mph. The storm then continued east where extensive damage occurred along main street just south of Freeland in western Foster Township. At this location, an outside storage building was destroyed. Debris from the building then traveled through the air and penetrated in several locations the roof of a 58 foot tall building. After hitting and destroying the building, additional damage occurred directly to the northeast where several trees were downed or uprooted. Downed trees were convergent in nature, consistent with a tornadic circulation moving over the area. Maximum estimated winds were between 95-100 mph which is classified as and EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The image below is the approximate path of the tornado.

approximate path of the tornado

Damage Photos

Click on an image to see a large version

Trees down. Large tree uprooted. Trees down and bent. More trees down.
Large building collapsed. Back view of the collapsed building. 2x4 in ground. Debris in tree.

For reference:

For reference, the Enhanced Fujita Scale classification can be found here.

A microburst is a convective downdraft with an affected outflow area of less than 2 1/2 miles wide and peak winds lasting less than 5 minutes. Microbursts may induce dangerous horizontal/vertical wind shears, which can adversely affect aircraft performance and cause property damage. Straight-line winds are generally any wind that is not associated with rotation, used mainly to differentiate them from tornadic winds.

The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to change pending final review of the event(s) and publication in National Weather Service Storm Data.


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Page last modified: July 30 2012