WB City residents say their homes, yards were hit by tornado

By Dan Stokes - [email protected]
Kathy Evans, right, stands in front of a weeping cherry tree that uprooted on the side of her house on Penn Street in Wilkes-Barre. Evans is joined by neighbor Aleta Payne, who also sustained structural damage to her house from the tornado last week. 6/18/18. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — Officials have been saying that no homes were damaged by last week’s powerful tornado. City residents Aleta Payne and Kathy Evans disagree.

Payne, of 54 Penn St. and Evans, of 67 Penn St. say their properties suffered damage from the storm that rocked Wilkes-Barre Township as it moved across the county.

“We are tired of hearing about how the tornado damaged the stores up the road,” Payne and Evans said. “You know, we too were affected by the tornado.”

While their homes are about a mile away from the area on Mundy Street where the twister is believed to have touched down, an official with the National Weather Service acknowledges it is possible.

“In a traumatic storm, you can have strong back wind,” said David Nicosia, a warning coordination meteorologist with NWS in Binghamton, N.Y. “It’s actually called rear flank downdraft. It’s guided by strong winds.”

Evidence shows the tornado hit the Arena Hub Plaza and surrounding area with winds reaching between 110 and 13o mph, Nicosia noted.

The worst part of the storm blew through Luzerne County around 10 p.m. Wednesday and quickly dissipated, leaving destruction in its path.

“I went to bed around my usual time,” Payne said. “All of a sudden, that light began to flicker and I heard a noise. My 800-pound bed started to shake.”

She couldn’t see anything out her windows because of the heavy rain and lightning.

“It just felt like a truck went through my house,” Payne said.

The next morning, Payne woke up to find shingles that had been ripped off the apex of her roof, a canopy off her swing ripped off and her fence pushed back a foot.

“I was worried that I had damage to my foundation but I couldn’t find any cracks in it,” Payne said. “I had about $250 worth of damages.”

“But my neighbor across the street got it much worse than I did.”

Evans had a swath of damage to her property by the storm. A large weeping cherry tree that she planted 25 years ago was completely uprooted.

“I think the main root is damaged, I don’t think I can replant it,” Evans said. “All my grandchildren have taken photos in front of that tree, it’s just really sad.”

The weeping cherry was not the only casualty of the storm. Evans’ back yard was ravaged by fallen trees and branches.

In addition to Evans’ backyard, her roof took damage leaving many personal items exposed to the rain.

“I filed a claim with my insurance and had an adjuster come to the house to assess the damage,” Evans said. “I don’t know the amount but I would think there is thousands of dollars in damage.”

“I have to contact the city, I just don’t know how I’m going to clean up all these trees,” Evans said.

For more on Wednesday’s tornado, click here.

Kathy Evans, right, stands in front of a weeping cherry tree that uprooted on the side of her house on Penn Street in Wilkes-Barre. Evans is joined by neighbor Aleta Payne, who also sustained structural damage to her house from the tornado last week. 6/18/18.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL061918stormpennst1-1.jpgKathy Evans, right, stands in front of a weeping cherry tree that uprooted on the side of her house on Penn Street in Wilkes-Barre. Evans is joined by neighbor Aleta Payne, who also sustained structural damage to her house from the tornado last week. 6/18/18. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

By Dan Stokes

[email protected]