As we mark Severe Weather Awareness Week in Pennsylvania, officials say we’ve seen an unusually high number of tornadoes in the state so far this April.
The latest twister possibly touched down in central Pennsylvania.
National Weather Service officials will be in Franklin County on Monday to confirm if a tornado touched down over the weekend. High winds damaged buildings on Friday in Saint Thomas Township, but officials have yet to call it a twister or not. The same storm did drop confirmed Category EF-1 tornadoes in Juniata and Huntingdon counties. Trees and structures were reprotedly damaged, but no one was reportedly injured.
Officials say April has turned out to be a very active month in Pennsylvania, with a total of 11 tornadoes confirmed throughout the state between April 14 and 19.
During Severe Weather Awareness Week in Pennsylvania, state weather officials will focus on a severe weather event that can happen in our state. Monday is tornadoes. Other topics include thunderstorms, flash floods and river floods.
The NWS defines a tornado as a violently rotating column of air in contact with the ground. The wind speeds inside a tornado range from under 100 miles an hour up to 300 miles an hour. They can travel with a forward speed as fast as 70 mph, and can destroy virtually everything in their path.
Officials say while most tornadoes that occur in Pennsylvania are not as strong as their counterparts in the plains, strong and damaging tornadoes can and do occur here. In fact, Pennsylvania ranks in the top 25 for tornado occurrence in the United States, averaging twenty tornadoes per year. Between May 31 and June 2 of 1998, Pennsylvania was hit by 40 tornadoes, some of which had wind speeds over 200 mph.