Microburst blamed for storm damage in Delaware County ahead of Elsa

Maggie Kent Image
Friday, July 9, 2021
Microburst blamed for storm damage in Delaware Co.
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Before the arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa, a separate severe storm brought trees down onto a home in Delaware County, Pennsylvania Thursday night.

WAYNE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Severe storms that struck parts of Pennsylvania Thursday - in the hours before Tropical Storm Elsa arrived - ripped down electricity and cable lines, and even toppled a tree onto a house.

The National Weather Service says the damage was from a microburst. They happen during thunderstorms and can produce damaging winds like a tornado, but it does not have the spin or rotation that a tornado does.

Chopper 6 was over the damage in Wayne where massive trees taken down by the storm. The impact broke branches into splinters as the trunk hit the ground.

"We thought, we wondered if there was a tornado, but apparently not. I'm glad!" said Wayne resident Grace Ziesing.

SEE ALSO: Elsa leaves behind damage in several NJ communities

A warning sign hangs on the front door of a home on Chamounix Road and the entrance was barred by caution tape. The roof was damaged by a tree which cracked in half.

A neighbor heard the crack.

"It happened really fast. The whole thing, maybe 20-30 seconds, a lot of rain all at the same time," said Will Johnston.

The cleanup kicked off as fast as the storm came through.

The sound of chainsaws could be heard in the three-block radius on Friday.

"A bunch of these telephone, utility poles were blown down and they replaced them overnight," said Ziesing. "By about 3, 3:30 we got our power back."

The owner of Lyle M. Rutty tree experts says pruning is absolutely necessary. He said he's seen more damaging storms in recent years.

"Times have changed, you have to (prune) now. You used to be able to get away with this, and not anymore. Now we see more winds and more damage," said Rutty.

He was working along Glynn Lane to prune an old Oak, which lost branches during the microburst. These types of storms are particularly hard on older trees but don't spare younger ones either.

"We just did one that was completely alive that's damaged," said Rutty.