NWS confirms Monday tornado
July 11, 2017

LANCASTER TWP — The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh on Tuesday confirmed that a weak tornado touched down during Monday’s storms.

An EF0-grade tornado touched down near Bowers Lane in Fombell, Beaver County at 3:57 p.m. and traveled northeast 3.2 miles into Lancaster Township near Strawberry Ridge Golf Course, according to a report from the Weather Service.

A field team traveled to the county Tuesday to investigate damage to trees and determine the path of the twister.

The winds in the tornado were estimated at 70 mph and damage was mostly to trees in its path. No injuries were reported from the tornado and no damage to houses or other structures was observed by the field team.

Other areas nearby also suffered damage that could have been from a tornado.

A “discontinuous swath of damage” was also observed in the area of Whitestown Road and as far east as Eagle Mill Road in Connoquenessing Township.

It is possible that the tornado also touched down further east, but the evidence observed by the field team was inconclusive, according to the report.

Though a tornado may not have actually touched down in their neighborhood, a couple Crab Run Road residents recalled seeing the powerful storm Monday afternoon.

Sandra Bernd said that the storm took down or damaged about 25 trees in her yard.

She said she was home in the afternoon when she got a text message from her husband Larry, who relayed that it was very stormy a few miles away in Ellwood City.

A short time later the storm suddenly arrived.

“It got really dark and within about five minutes, my trees were blowing like I had never seen in my life,” Bernd said.

Sensing possible danger, she went down to the lower level of her house with her two dogs to wait it out.

Their house did not suffer any damage, though a tree did fall on a shed in the back yard, damaging a tractor.

The Cox family, who live nearby, also reported an intense storm that took down numerous trees.

“It started pouring and the trees almost touched the ground from the wind,” said Samantha Cox, 14, who was home with her father.

Samantha said she was looking out the living room window and quickly retreated to a hallway when she saw a tree falling toward the house. Fortunately, their house was also spared from damage.

Their neighborhood was one of many to lose electricity for several hours Monday after the storm passed through.

This was the third confirmed tornado in the county this year. Two EF0 tornados touched down in Prospect and Parker Township when a storm hit the county on May 1.

EF0 is the lowest classification of tornado on the Fujita Scale that the Weather Service uses. An EF0 tornado has winds of between 56 and 85 mph and typically causes minor damage to buildings. An EF1 tornado would be powerful enough to overturn a mobile home or break windows and doors on houses.