A tornado hit the Johnstown area on Thursday night.
The storm struck between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., knocking down trees and causing some property damage.
On Friday, representatives from the National Weather Service in State College, including warning coordination meteorologist Peter Jung, examined the path of damage. A preliminary finding was issued around 3 p.m.
“So far, the survey team has found damage from at least one tornado which started near Sunnehanna Country Club and continued through Stackhouse Park and Westmont,” according to the NWS statement. “The path length was about 1.5 miles and was up to 300 yards wide. The majority of damage was to trees, with a swath of trees downed through Stackhouse Park. Many trees were also down along Menoher Blvd. The preliminary estimate on the wind speeds is between 80 and 85 MPH.”
An official final survey, concerning damage elsewhere in the region, was expected to be released later.
NWS officials made the determination after examining damage patterns.
“It's not one tree or one roof that's damaged,” Jung said during an interview at a site in Westmont. “We look at the overall pattern. We're looking for a pattern of damage kind of converging into a central location. That's indicative of a tornado, which actually has winds being pulled into it, as opposed to a downburst or straight-line wind where air is kind of rushing out of the thunderstorm and you'll see a pattern of damage kind of dispersing.”
Cambria County emergency services responded to the storm by activating a warning on Thursday and then assessing damage in the following hours.
So ... Might be pulling an overnight shift tonight. pic.twitter.com/0EkzQSMYpF— Shawn Curtis (@shawncurtis430) May 24, 2019
“We have it pretty well all encompassed,” said Art Martynuska, Cambria County deputy director of emergency services.
A handful of structures were damaged, according to Martynuska. A portion of the roof was torn off the rectory at St. Gregory Roman Catholic Church in Daisytown.
Downed trees were still being removed from Westmont's streets and yards as of Friday afternoon.
No injuries were reported to Cambria County emergency services.
“It was a pretty powerful storm,” said Robert Tauber, West Hills Regional Fire Department's fire chief. “Right now, we don't know the extent of what came through, but, with the severity of the damage, we're very fortunate no one was injured.”
Damage was also reported in the Windber area, along with parts of Westmoreland County.
First-responders from multiple organizations, including the Johnstown Police Department, Johnstown Fire Department and public works, participated in the cleanup. “Responders all pitched in,” Martynuska said. “We had a lot of mutual aid. And now we're out doing our thing for emergency management to see where we're going to follow up.”
At one point, approximately 2,200 Penelec customers across Greater Johnstown were without power on Thursday. All power was returned by Friday afternoon, according to information at firstenergycorp.com.