Weather service confirms 2 twisters hit area
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The National Weather Service has confirmed that two tornadoes touched down in the Pittsburgh area Thursday afternoon.
The two tornadoes -- one in Eighty Four and another near West Mifflin -- spawned by Thursday's storms caused damage that included an overturned car, a misplaced porch and an unhappy end for 84 Lumber's giant sign on Route 519.
But it could have been much worse, weather officials said.
"Fortunately there were no casualties or any injuries in any of the storms," said meteorologist Rihaan Gangat of the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh.
After surveying storm damage today, crews from the weather service determined that a tornado with 80 to 85 mph winds traveled 1.5 miles through Eighty Four between 3:57 and 4 p.m., uprooting trees and turning over a car along Route 519. Several small buildings were damaged and one lost some shingles.
The 84 Lumber sign also was knocked down, but none of the damage blocked the roadway, said North Strabane police Sgt. Dave Richards.
"There's nothing that's affecting traffic," he said.
A second tornado formed near West Mifflin, traveling a quarter-mile near the Grant Avenue Extension for one minute about 4:45 p.m. Wind blowing at 70 to 80 mph snapped trees and toppled cemetery headstones. They also lifted the front porch of one home and plopped it onto the home's roof, the weather service reported.
Both tornadoes ranked as EF0's, the lowest ranking on the Fujita Scale used to classify the severity of tornadoes based on wind speed.
Although the brief duration of the tornadoes did not allow the weather service to issue a tornado warning, people still should find shelter if they see something that looks like a funnel cloud or another severe storm, Mr. Gangat said.
"If a warning is not issued like in [Thursday's] case, any type of cloud formation you see like that, it's best to take cover immediately," he said.
First Published September 29, 2012 12:00 am