New Castle News

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July 11, 2013

Photos, Video, Story: A wild afternoon

NEW CASTLE — A tornado touched down Wednesday in Lawrence County.

And while some structures suffered, there were no initial reports of injuries.

Two barns and a machinery shed were demolished, windows were “blown out” of a mobile home and trees were uprooted in the North Beaver Township/New Beaver Borough area by the high winds.

That happened about 4:15 p.m. and was followed by heavy rain that caused flooding and landslides as well as downed trees and wires.

Tim Caughey of McBride Road in North Beaver Township said the wind came through between 4 and 4:15 p.m.

“I looked out the window and saw the clouds, dark and churning, and then the rain,” he said. “I saw what I think was a funnel cloud. My momma didn’t raise any fools so I headed for the basement. I’ve seen enough television of what tornadoes can do to stand around and take pictures.”

Caughey said he was told that Walt Werner’s barn on Route 168 and a barn on McBride Road — formerly owned by his father-in-law, Phillip Zohvic and now owned by Angelo Medure — had been obliterated.

When he emerged from his basement, Caughey said, he saw debris and heavy cloud cover headed away.

“I was fortunate,” he said.

Pat McCready of Wampum-Mount Air Road said he understands a tornado passed through, but he had not seen the funnel cloud.

“This is crazy weather,” he noted.

David McBride, a Union Township police officer, was sent to help North Beaver’s Volunteer Fire Department about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. He said most of the damage was concentrated between Halltown and Mallory roads along Route 168 in North Beaver Township.

“I haven’t heard that anyone was hurt,” he added.

McBride confirmed the trailer damage, but said he does not know who lives there.

Brian Melcer, Lawrence County’s public safety director, said the 911 center was “inundated” with calls and emergency responders had to prioritize.

Between 4 and 6:30 p.m., Melcer said, 410 calls were received. Generally, this is as many as are received in three days, he pointed out.

Most of the callers reported downed trees and wires or power outages, according to Melcer. He said people should not call 911 for those types of problems.

“Don’t call 911 unless it is an emergency,” he stressed.

Most damage — road flooding, debris on roads and downed trees and wires — was in the central part of the county, he said.

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