Tornadoes Damage Multiple Communities in Pittsburgh Area

Severe weather wreaked havoc across western Pennsylvania on Friday afternoon, with the National Weather Service confirming the touchdown of four tornadoes.

Three EF-0 tornadoes and one EF-1 tornado caused widespread damage to communities, marking the first occurrence of a tornado within Pittsburgh city limits since 1998.

In Harrison City, Westmoreland County, an EF-0 tornado with winds reaching 70 miles per hour swept through, leaving minor structural and tree damage in its wake.

Moving towards the Greensburg-Jeannette Regional Airport, its impact was felt across the Municipal Complex.

Washington County experienced the wrath of an EF-0 tornado, with wind speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.

The towns of Elizabeth and Elrama witnessed homes losing shingles, trees uprooted, and furniture destroyed. Particularly devastating was the collapse of a swimming pool and the loss of a porch roof from a mobile home.

At Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, another EF-0 tornado touched down, leaving a path of destruction spanning 0.6 miles.

Despite its short duration and unknown wind speeds, the tornado caused significant alarm, though fortunately, there were no reported injuries.

However, the most severe of the tornadoes occurred near the Highland Park Bridge in Pittsburgh, where an EF-1 tornado struck with winds reaching 105 miles per hour.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium bore the brunt of the damage, with structures within the zoo grounds sustaining significant harm. Fortunately, no humans or animals were injured during the ordeal.

The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, a local landmark, faced extensive damage, with multiple trees downed, fences damaged, and power outages reported. Despite the chaos, the zoo remained resilient, opening its doors to the public on Saturday with modified operations.

Dr. Jeremy Goodman, the zoo’s president and CEO, commended the staff for their swift response, crediting emergency drills for ensuring the safety of both visitors and animals.

Residents in Elrama, Washington County, recounted their terrifying experiences as the tornado swept through their neighborhood. Homeowner Deb Evans described the ordeal as “loud, fast, and then gone,” highlighting the suddenness of the storm’s impact.

Witnessing her patio umbrellas being lifted by the swirling winds, she emphasized the sheer force of nature unleashed upon their community.

Neighbors in Elrama were left to pick up the pieces, with damaged property and fallen trees strewn across the area. Despite the destruction, residents expressed gratitude for their safety and resilience in the face of adversity.