The storm also caused severe damage at the Arena Hub Plaza, a prominent shopping center in eastern Pennsylvania.
TWP. - It was a tornado.
"I never seen anything like this in my life", township Mayor Carl Kuren said at the scene Thursday morning. "It is capricious. You can see that I think from an aerial view, as I understand it, of the path of the tornado and you can see that from what was damaged and destroyed and what was left standing, like that tent full of flowers". In Wilkes-Barre, city and county officials had closed roads around the damaged shopping centers because of downed power lines and damage to a propane cylinder that was still leaking as of midmorning Thursday. While many businesses were winding down for the day at that point, the people who remained reported chaos. "I thought it would have been something in the front and a little something in the back, but this looks like it will take us awhile" Said Ronne Kurlancheek, owner. "It's devastating, and the only thing - we're fortunate it didn't happen an hour earlier because the mall and everything was still open".
Strong storms, apparent tornadoes flip cars and trigger building collapses in Pennsylvania
Six people were injured in the storm.
The NWS said the damage assessment is ongoing and additional information about the track, damage and intensity of the tornado will be released later Thursday.
The National Weather Service was also assessing the scene Thursday in an effort to determine if a tornado did in fact touch down, as officials at the scene said they suspected.
Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency volunteer Garrett Hittle said crews were working to stabilize the propane cylinder by off gassing the contents.
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