Tornado Victims Deal with Damage, Cleanup

PITTSTON TOWNSHIP -- Storm victims and officials had a chance to take in all of the damage from Saturday night's tornado in Luzerne County.

Chapel Road in Pittston Township saw some of the most devastating damage.

Families in that neighborhood are being helped by the American Red Cross while dealing with insurance companies and giving thanks they survived.

The roof is gone and the chimney sits in shambles at the home Charlie Salvo built with his own two hands.

As the storm bore down, Salvo, his wife, and her 89-year-old mother huddled in the cellar.

"All of a sudden, I just heard whoom, a very loud noise, that must have been the roof," Salvo recalled.

While around two dozen homes in Pittston Township were damaged, the Salvo's place appears to have gotten the worst of it.

Trees on the property appeared to be in bloom, but in actuality, it was insulation scattered by the storm.

The family plans to rebuild.

After the storm, Pat Popielarz found her car under a tangle of trees, but her house was intact.

"The house was creaking. I thought the house was going to go," said Popielarz.

She marvels at how different her property looks now.

"There were all huge trees. This is just amazing."

The day after the twister touched down was busy: reunions and relief, clean up and concern, chainsaws and chagrin.

Frank Galonis and his wife Ann barely escaped.

As the storm headed for Suscon Road, it dropped a tree right on the Galonis' bedroom.

Almost all of the couples' vehicles are smashed.

Luzerne County officials took pictures of the aftermath on Sunday.

From the sky, a drone provided by Access Aerial captured a forest fallen.

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service worked to determine the tornado's path.

"Extremely unusual for this time of year, February. The snow could be two feet deep here," said David Nicosia, NWS.

The National Weather Service is categorizing the tornado as an EF-2 with wind speeds of 120 mph.

Nearby, one couple huddled by a candle, waiting for power and water.

Utility crews were working in the area to get the power restored to those homes.

1 Comment

  • Raidmax

    This was more than just a thunderstorm. Peoples houses were destroyed and people could have been killed. This area is not in a city area, it is in a highly wooded area where there are barely any resources. I bet if a tornado happened if your area you would not be saying the same. This area is not prone to tornadoes. We have never had one here before.

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