MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Seven tornadoes ran through the region on Wednesday, including a deadly one in Montgomery County. At least three people lost their lives in the county. Two died due to a flood, the third was a woman who died due to a tree that toppled into her home.
The tornado, which swept through Fort Washington, Upper Dublin Township and Horsham Township, had estimated peak winds up to 130-mph.
For hours, crews worked diligently to remove debris from a home on Kenyon Drive. The woman upstairs was killed after the massive tree crashed down. Her husband managed to get out safely.
“He’s doing as well as expected,” Mark Harris, of Fort Washington, said.
Officials were able to enter the home late Thursday once debris was cleared.
“They’re lifting the tree off the house so they can get to her,” Howard Gallop, of Fort Washington, said.
The EF-2 tornado that touched down in Montgomery County mostly damaged Horsham Township, Upper Dublin Township and Fort Washington. Some townhomes are mostly gone and the vehicles were tossed around like toys.
“The Stewart Creek Townhouse Development, which has 156 homes in it, we believe about 85% of those homes are not occupiable, meaning they’ve been damaged to the point where people can’t live there,” Paul Leonard, Township Manager, said.
This is Stuart Creek Farms, the day after.
Charissa Watt Cyrus was at work when the EF-2 tornado tore the roof off her home. Most of her belongings are ruined, but not everything.
“I’ve been in a state of shock, really. I can’t believe this is happening,” she said.
“When they talk about hearing a train, it wasn’t a train whistle. It was the train on the tracks,” Mindy Katz said.
Katz heard the storm and ran to her basement as the side of her home tore away. It was over in a few seconds, but for Katz, “it seemed like forever.”
“It was the scariest thing and then it was quiet,” Katz said.
Upper Dublin Township, Montgomery county Pennsylvania pic.twitter.com/sbJCSHIPe6
— Ross Guidotti (@RossGuidotti) September 2, 2021
During Wednesday’s tornado, the roof of the township building that houses the police department went flying. Everyone managed to get out safely. Police have since established an emergency operation command at the Fort Washington Fire Company until they move into the library at 520 Virginia Drive.
“It’s going to take a couple weeks before we get locked down but we’re working,” Fran Wheatley, Chief of Police, said. “Most of our personnel is there right now securing our equipment.”
For now, neighbors continue helping neighbors.
“Trying to figure out where we can pitch in, what do we need to do to make sure we have a place for people to shelter and that children are stilling getting the meals that they need to be nourished,” State Sen. Maria Collet said.
Thousands of people have no power as tree services are cleaning unbelievable amounts of downed timber.
“We have never seen anything like this around here,” Matt Seitchik with Sabia Tree Service said. “They say they’re going to tear this truck is down so we’re going to start from scratch.”
County officials say they’ll be working throughout the weekend to get the county back in working order by Tuesday.
Gov. Tom Wolf will tour the area on Friday to assess the damage.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid and KDKA’s Ross Guidotti contributed to this report.
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