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Storm damage reported in Pa., Md.

July 29, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

o For updated weather forecasts, go to The Herald-Mail Accuweather

TRI-STATE -- Severe storms passing through Franklin County, Pa., Wednesday afternoon wiped out dozens of trees and flattened a pavilion in the community of Lemasters, Pa., according to residents and emergency services officials.

In Chambersburg, Pa., about 15 people living in apartments above a jewelry store on South Main Street were evacuated when a storm damaged the building's roof, said Susan Dutko, Franklin County's emergency management coordinator.

"It just peeled the roof right back," Dutko said.

Some of the storms had rotating clouds, but it was unclear if any tornadoes formed, said Craig Evanego, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, Pa. Evanego said he thinks officials with his agency probably will go to Lemasters today to examine the damage.

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A tornado warning was issued for northwestern Washington County Wednesday afternoon, as well as northeastern Allegany County, Md., and northwestern Morgan County, W.Va., but there were no confirmed reports of tornadoes in the areas, said Brian Lasorsa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

There were rotating clouds in that warning area that "could have been tornadic," Lasorsa said.

There was little storm damage in Washington County, a 911 dispatcher said.

Trees were uprooted and utility poles were knocked down in the Allegany County town of Oldtown Wednesday, and weather service officials are expected to travel to the town today to determine if the damage was a tornado, Lasorsa said.

Dutko said the storm damage in Franklin County did not have a clear path, which normally is associated with a tornado.

"This is more typical of what we call a microburst," Dutko said.

People in the area of Lemasters, which is three miles northeast of Mercersburg, Pa., heard a "low roar" when the storm went through, Dutko said.

A line of trees near a pet-care facility on Lemar Road in Lemasters was wiped out in the storm, and a pavilion at a town community center off Steele Avenue was flattened when its roof collapsed, Dutko and town residents said. Homes also were damaged, residents said.

The apartment building in Chambersburg that forced the evacuation of the estimated 15 people is at 129 S. Main St., Dutko said. The American Red Cross was providing shelter for the residents, Dutko said.

Wires and trees were reported knocked down in Mercersburg at 4:30 p.m., Dutko said.

A severe thunderstorm warning was posted for Franklin County Wednesday afternoon, but there were no tornado warnings, Evanego said.

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