NWS: Tornado hit Honey Brook, straight line winds in Whitehall Township

WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down near Honey Brook, Chester County on Tuesday.

Officials say the EF-1 tornado hit at 2:11 p.m.

It had an estimated maximum wind speed of 95mph with width of 100 yards and length of 1.5 miles.

According to the Enhanced Fujita scale, an EF-1 tornado can reach wind speeds from 86mph to 100mph.

It was the 29th confirmed tornado in Chester County since the 1950s. The last one occurred on September 27, 2010. That was an EF-0.

Raymond Brubacher says the tornado was about 1,000 feet in the air.

He watched as it snaked and touched down briefly. It was the first time he'd even seen a tornado.

"It was white, it wasn't black and wasn't super wide, but you could see the rotating motion," Brubacher said.

The NWS assessed the damage along Talbotvile Road up to Morgantown Road.

There, several homes suffered damage, roofs were ripped off, and tree were toppled over.

The damage was minimal considering it was a tornado.

Cleanup has already begun.

The Amish were out in force helping their neighbors rebuild after Mother Nature's most recent fury.

Earlier Wednesday, meteorologists with the NWS said the home video was key to determining if the powerful storm that ripped through the area along the Chester-Berks Counties border was indeed a twister.

"From the vantage point that the shot was taken it does look like there was a well-defined funnel. Obviously, the funnel is the appendage coming from the cloud base. Our job today is to determine if any kind damage occurred under that funnel to verify a possible tornado," Greg Heavener of the National Weather Service said.

Honeybrook resident Michael Gearhart watched as the powerful winds ripped apart his neighbors' houses.

"Pretty much, get to where it was safe. I wasn't worried about the stuff. Get the animals and the kids downstairs and stay out of harm's way," Gearhart said.

The NWS says a microburst with straight line winds, not a tornado, struck in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County at approximately 2:36 p.m. Tuesday.

The estimated maximum wind speed was 80mph.

"Cleaning up all morning. Been out here since 6:30 this morning trying to get everything cleaned up and get it back to where it was," resident James Foehrkolb said.

Trees are down, but many have been trimmed and cut up.

Power crews are out repairing downed lines and poles.

Homeowners are waiting on adjusters knowing the damage to their homes will likely take some time to repair.

"I'm just thankful that everyone is okay. There is a lot of damage around, but as long as everyone is safe, that's a good thing," Foehrkolb said.

A state of emergency has been declared in Whitehall Township which will help bring additional resources to help with the cleanup.
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