Keith Perks

PHOTOS: Storm and tornado damage at Arena Hub Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Twp., 06/13/18

PHOTOS: Storm and tornado damage at Arena Hub Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Twp., 06/13/18
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What has since been confirmed as a tornado with 130 mph winds touched down in Wilkes-Barre Township around the Arena Hub Plaza shopping center around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, completely destroying businesses and severely damaging others while overturning and tearing apart vehicles, knocking down trees and power lines, shattering windows, and tossing debris everywhere.

Classified as an EF2 tornado by the National Weather Service, the unusual storm traveled for three quarters of a mile and was around 200 yards wide, leaving over 20 building damaged and 11 utterly destroyed. It was over almost as quickly as it came, but it wreaked havoc unlike anything seen in that area before.

NEPA Scene was one of the first local media outlets on the scene, documenting the ravaged remains of Panera Bread, Tovon & Co. Diamonds, America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, GameStop, Sneaker King, L.A. Nails and Spa, and other roofless stores. Barnes & Noble, Kurlancheek Home Furnishings, Petco, PetSmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, Ken Pollock Nissan, and other Wilkes-Barre Township Commons and Mundy Street businesses suffered heavy damage as well, with twisted remains of U-Haul Moving & Storage trucks littering parking lots and roads.

“Our first concern is the safety of residents and structures, and local emergency responders have worked through the night to secure the scene,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a press release before touring the site this morning.

Thankfully, no one was killed and only six minor injuries were reported. The nearby Wyoming Valley Mall and roads surrounding the area remained closed today as cleanup began. With gas leaks, downed power lines, scattered debris, and collapsed roofs, don’t expect these devastated stores and strip malls to bounce back any time soon.