MERCERSBURG, Pa. — The National Weather Service confirmed Saturday that straight-line winds not a tornado damaged the Mercersburg Printing building off Pa. 16 in Franklin County Friday night.
Weather service meteorologist John LaCorte said thunderstorms caused localized winds that damaged Mercersburg Printing at 9964 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg.
Straight-line winds knock everything down in the same direction, whereas a tornado will cause chaotic damage — some trees will go one way and others in another direction, LaCorte said.
Although he would not speculate on the wind speed necessary to damage the business, he said winds above 50 mph typically cause some sort of damage.
The storm ripped through the area shortly after 7 p.m., damaging about a fourth of the roof, a 3,000-square-foot section, of the printing company and soaking about 20 percent of the inside of the business.
Mercersburg Printing Manager Doug Shenberger also said several pieces of printing equipment were damaged by the storm.
“We don’t know yet about some pieces of equipment,” Shenberger said. “We have professionals coming in to go through the equipment.”
Shenberger said repairs to the roof could exceed $20,000, but the inside is a “far bigger deal.”
“If I was guessing, I’d have to say it was going to be at least a quarter of a million dollars just inside,” he said.
But he said that cost estimate could be higher, depending on how much water damage the equipment has sustained.
The business is expected to be closed through Tuesday and will reopen on Wednesday, he said.
But Shenberger noted that customers can still call the business, and work can be conducted electronically. Most customers won’t notice much of a disruption to business operations, he said.
“It could have been worse,” Shenberger said. “Nobody was hurt.”
Gerald Hershey, who lives next door, said he and his friend, Janet Miller, were home when the wind damage occurred.
“It was about 7:30, and we were watching television about tornadoes in the Baltimore area,” Hershey said. “All of a sudden, there was a roar. I looked out the kitchen window, and I could see the roof (Mercersburg Printing) jump up and down, and then it just went.”
Hershey said the metal carport covering his tractor and Suburban was picked up and wrapped around a telephone pole.
“You heard it, and in no time it was over,” he said.
No one was injured during the storm, but both Hershey and the printing business were without power.