Twisters hit Pike amid ‘historic outbreak'

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:41

LACKAWAXEN - A National Weather Service storm survey team found two tornado tracks in Pike County, after what officials statewide called a “historic outbreak” on Dec. 1. These two tornadoes hit 30 to 45 minutes after a more intense tornado hit Mountaintop and surrounding areas of lower Luzerne County. Adding in these two incidents, a total of five twisters struck across the state on Dec. 1, three of them hitting northeast Pennsylvania. The first local tornado touched down at about 5:30 p.m., about three miles northeast of Hawley. The tornado tracked east at about 65 mph, with a maximum width of about 100 yards. It’s path length was about five miles, and it lifted near Bohemia in Lackawaxen, close to state Route 590, about five minutes later. Rated an “f0” on the Fujita scale of tornado intensity, it knocked down and scattered large trees along its path and had maximum winds of between 60 and 70 mph. “F0” tornado intensity ranges from 40 to 72 mph. The second tornado touched down in nearby Rowland at 5:35 p.m., and tracked east at 65 mph through Lackawaxen Township, lifting off at about 5:40 p.m. This tornado’s five-mile path had a maximum width of 200 yards. It was rated an “f1” by the Weather Service, with winds of 73 to 112 mph. Readily visible was a 200-yard-wide swath of trees, flattened at the base of a hill, near the Riverview development off Route 590, adjoining the Lackawaxen River. Large trees, some with diameters of two feet or more, were left with ragged twisted stumps. At several other locations along the five-mile path, numerous large trees were uprooted. Most of the trees that were snapped and uprooted were hardwoods consisting of oak, locust and sycamore. Businessman Dimitri Zaimes said the twister came down the west side of the Lackawaxen River Valley flattening trees along the ridge, almost to the confluence of the Delaware. “It took out a big pine that had an eagle’s nest in it,” he said, pointing to the ridge. The storm knocked out power in the Rowland, Lackawaxen area, in some cases for up to two days. There were no other reports of property damage or injuries. Maximum winds were estimated up to 100 mph, based on the extent of the tree damage and the fact that hardwoods were involved.