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Vicious tornado rips through Pennsylvania town

  • A powerful tornado ripped through Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Wednesday night
  • Strong winds destroyed stores, overturned cars, downed trees and power lines 
  • A strip mall suffered the most damage, where store signs were ripped off and windows shattered
  • Only a 'few minor injuries' were reported in the storm 
  • National Weather Investigators will assess the damage Thursday 

By Associated Press

Published: 06:31 EDT, 14 June 2018 | Updated: 12:12 EDT, 14 June 2018

A vicious tornado ripped through a Pennsylvania town destroying a strip mall, downing trees, and violently flipping trucks over. 

The powerful storm struck a shopping plaza late Wednesday night while the area was under a tornado warning.

The storm ripped the signs off storefronts of the Wyoming Valley Mall strip mall, shattered windows and doors, and scattered debris onto nearby streets and sidewalks, according to CBS. 

A tornado's damage: Pennsylvania city Wilkes-Barre was wrecked in a severe storm Wednesday evening destroying stores and flipping cars and trucks over
A tornado's damage: Pennsylvania city Wilkes-Barre was wrecked in a severe storm Wednesday evening destroying stores and flipping cars and trucks over

A tornado's damage: Pennsylvania city Wilkes-Barre was wrecked in a severe storm Wednesday evening destroying stores and flipping cars and trucks over

The violent storm downed trees and power lines, collapsed structures pictured above
The violent storm downed trees and power lines, collapsed structures pictured above

The violent storm downed trees and power lines, collapsed structures pictured above

The storm hit Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre the hardest, debris pictured in parking lotCat
The storm hit Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre the hardest, debris pictured in parking lotCat

The storm hit Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre the hardest, debris pictured in parking lot

Cars were overturned and damaged in the strong winds at the mall, which was pounded by the force of the storm, pictured above Wednesday night after the storm calmed
Cars were overturned and damaged in the strong winds at the mall, which was pounded by the force of the storm, pictured above Wednesday night after the storm calmed

Cars were overturned and damaged in the strong winds at the mall, which was pounded by the force of the storm, pictured above Wednesday night after the storm calmed

U-Haul trucks parked in Wilkes-Barre Township were tossed around in the severe winds, and in one bizarre instance thrown on top of each other as above
U-Haul trucks parked in Wilkes-Barre Township were tossed around in the severe winds, and in one bizarre instance thrown on top of each other as above

U-Haul trucks parked in Wilkes-Barre Township were tossed around in the severe winds, and in one bizarre instance thrown on top of each other as above

The Wyoming Valley Mall strip mall suffered the most damage, pictured above with destroyed storefronts where windows were broken, walls collapsed, and signs ripped off 
The Wyoming Valley Mall strip mall suffered the most damage, pictured above with destroyed storefronts where windows were broken, walls collapsed, and signs ripped off 

The Wyoming Valley Mall strip mall suffered the most damage, pictured above with destroyed storefronts where windows were broken, walls collapsed, and signs ripped off 

Cars were also flipped over and thrown on top of each other. 

One eerie photo displays a U-Haul truck somehow thrown on top of another. 

Only a 'few minor injuries' were reported in the storm according to Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania spokesman Dave Skutnik speaking to Weather.com. 

Wilkes-Barre Township Police warned locals to avoid the area near Wyoming Valley Mall citing reports of 'multiple collapsed buildings'.  

A Panera Bread and Barnes and Noble in the strip mall suffered devastating damage in the tornado's wake with their very signs ripped off, windows shattered, and some front walls collapsed. 

A Panera Bread at the mall suffered extensive damage in the tornado where its sign was ripped off and front windows broken and shattered
A Panera Bread at the mall suffered extensive damage in the tornado where its sign was ripped off and front windows broken and shattered

A Panera Bread at the mall suffered extensive damage in the tornado where its sign was ripped off and front windows broken and shattered

Police warned locals to avoid the strip mall area that sustained the most damage in the storm
Police warned locals to avoid the strip mall area that sustained the most damage in the storm

Police warned locals to avoid the strip mall area that sustained the most damage in the storm

The tornado dented this furniture warehouse as it wreaked havoc in the strip mall Wednesday 
The tornado dented this furniture warehouse as it wreaked havoc in the strip mall Wednesday 

The tornado dented this furniture warehouse as it wreaked havoc in the strip mall Wednesday 

Emergency services arrived on the scene after the damage, an overturned car pictured above
Emergency services arrived on the scene after the damage, an overturned car pictured above

Emergency services arrived on the scene after the damage, an overturned car pictured above

Panera employee Bruno Isles was washing dishes at the back of the restaurant when the vicious tornado hit.

'My manager had us secure the doors. We had tables and chairs flying through the windows,' he said to the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. 

He added he suffered a minor scrape on his arm as he tried to evacuate customers in the restaurant to safety.

Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey warned residents to be safe on Twitter. 

'Please heed the warnings and follow the directions of local officials',' he tweeted Wednesday evening.  

National Weather Investigators will assess the damage Thursday.

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