Tornado confirmed in Wilkes-Barre storm, National Weather Service says

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Investigators in Bradford County in northeast Pennsylvania say that a tornado caused the damage in Franklin Township. Dave Skutnik, the Regional Director of Communications for the Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania said that a "few minor injuries" have been reported so far. Tornadoes are categorized from EF0, which are weaker with wind speeds between 65 and 85 miles per hour, to EF5, which are considered violent with wind speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. The area was under a tornado warning at the time.

Power lines are down, vehicles are damaged and debris is littering the area.

Debris and damaged vehicles sit in front of a auto dealership on Thursday in Wilkes-Barre.

The storm struck the Wilkes-Barre Township shopping plaza late Wednesday night. While many businesses were winding down for the day at that point, the people who remained reported chaos. "Nearly everyone's cars in the parking lot were destroyed", the 18-year-old said.

First responders removed the guns and ammunition from Dick's Sporting Goods as a safeguard, and pets were also evacuated from the Petco and PetSmart stores for their safety, Smith said.

All the stores in the Panera Bread strip mall appeared to have lost their roofs, and Kurlancheek Home Furnishings and U-Haul also suffered extensive roof damage.

According to the NWS, the tornado, classified as a category EF2, touched down around 10 p.m. near Mundy Street and Highland Park Boulevard by the Wyoming Valley Mall.

"My manager had us secure the doors", he said.

A bystander stands in front of several businesses in the area of the Wilkes Barre Township Commons on Thursday morning.

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