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Severe Weather Event
December 1st, 2006

Synopsis

A strong cold front pushed through Pennsylvania during the afternoon and evening of December 1st, 2006. This complicated event had many facets to it. First, severe windstorms preceeded and accompanied the front. The extremely strong winds aloft (see PIT sounding below) were easily mixed down to the surface in any convective activity.

A majority of the preliminary damage reports came with the multiple lines of thunderstorms as they blasted west to east at 50 to 70 mph across the region during the afternoon. Many reports of minor flooding were also received, with more serious flooding in places near Bloomsburg, Danville, Sunbury and Selinsgrove. The flooding subsided quickly.

The second phase of the storm ushered in very strong gradient (normal) winds as the storm deepened and moved to our east. Widespread reports of wind damage (mainly trees, and power- and telephone-wires down) came from all over Central PA - in places that never even had a thunderstorm that day - becoming strongest during the evening hours. Therefore, a High wind Warning was also necessary in addition to the shorter-lived Severe Thunderstorm Warnings (see the difference between these event types and warnings at: our Thresholds and Definitions page).

A Thunderstorm that hit around 4:15 pm did major damage just south of Halifax, PA on the Susquehanna River north of Harrisburg. A survey team investigated the damage, and the results follow below. This storm did produce a tornado, one of three on the day in PA, apparently the first tornadoes ever recorded in December in the state of Pennsylvania. The other PA Tornadoes that day were in central Westmoreland County around 11:30 am, and another in central Luzerne County around 5:30 pm.

Local Storm Reports

 
Text of Preliminary Local Storm Reports 

graphical plot of convective warnings and preliminary damage reports

Storm Damage Survey

Map of damage survey completed in Northern Dauphin County
Map of approximate damage swath in Northern Dauphin County, including F1 Tornado Damage.


 
NOUS41 KCTP 021946
 PNSCTP
 PAZ028-036-056>059-063>066-030800-
 
 PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE STATE COLLEGE PA
 246 PM EST SAT DEC 2 2006
 
 ...F1 TORNADO CONFIRMED NEAR HALIFAX DAUPIN COUNTY...
 
 A SURVEY TEAM FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STATE COLLEGE
 AND THE DAUPHIN COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY TOURED THE
 DAMAGE AREA SOUTH AND EAST OF HALIFAX TODAY. THE DAMAGE OCCURRED
 DURING A THUNDERSTORM ON THE AFTERNOON OF FRIDAY DECEMBER 1ST
 2006. 
 
 THE TEAM FOUND THAT THE DAMAGE WAS MAINLY STRIGHT-LINE WIND
 DAMAGE...BUT THERE WAS EVIDENCE OF A TORNADO EMBEDDED IN THE
 LARGER DAMAGE SWATH. THE TEAM ESTIMATED THE WINDS OF THE TORNADO
 TO BE 100 TO 110 MPH...OR CATEGORY F1 ON THE FUJITA SCALE OF
 TORNADO INTENSITY. THE TORNADO ITSELF WAS ON THE GROUND FOR 1.5
 MILES AND WAS AT MOST 75 YARDS WIDE.
 
 THE TOTAL SWATH OF WIND DAMAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY 8 MILES
 LONG...RUNNING IN A NORTHEASTERLY DIRECTION. THE DAMAGE BEGAN NEAR
 THE INTERSECTION OF SHAMMONS SCHOOL ROAD AND ROUTE 147 SOUTH OF
 HALIFAX...WHICH IS ABOUT 1 MILE EAST OF THE SUSQUEHANNA
 RIVER...AND RAN TO A POINT IN A WOODED AREA OF JACKSON
 TOWNSHIP...NEAR THE TOWN OF ENDERS. 
 
 WITNESSES PLACED THE TIME OF DAMAGE AROUND 415 PM EST.
 
 ONE FATALITY OCCURRED AT THE INTERSECTION OF ROUTES 225 AND 147
 WHEN A TREE FELL ON A CAR AT THE INTERSECTION. NO OTHER INJURIES
 ARE KNOWN AT THIS TIME.
 
 DAMAGE TO BUILDINGS INCLUDED 2 BUSINESSES AND 1 RESIDENCE WITH
 MAJOR DAMAGE...4 RESIDENCES WITH MODERATE DAMAGE...AND 25 TO 30
 RESIDENCES WITH MINOR DAMAGE. THOUSANDS OF TREES WERE ALSO FELLED
 DUE TO THE STRONG WINDS...AND THE EMBEDDED TORNADO.
 
 $$
 
 DANGELO/BUDD
  

Damage Picture(s)

Picture of damage around Routes 147 and 225 from the air (Photo courtesy Dr. John Scala).
Picture of damage around Routes 147 and 225 from the air (Photo courtesy Dr. John Scala). (Click for VERY big pic)

Radar/Satellite Images

 
See a loop of the radar images, and satellite and lightning, around the time of the tornado near Halifax, PA.
four-panel of storm over Halifax - click to see a loop

 

(Click to enlarge this image in a mini window)
Pittsburgh Balloon-Atmospheric Sounding From 7am EST, 1 Dec 2006
1200 UTC (7am EST) KPIT Sounding

Radar Image of Line of storms over Sunbury, PA with Storm Motion/Speed overlay storm motion to the east-northeast at 87 mph.
These things were haulin' - 76 knots is equal to 87 mph!

Visible Satellite Picture
2040 UTC Satellite with 15 min lightning plot overlaid


 
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Page Last Modified: 07 December 2006 09:15:45 UTC
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