Pennsylvania town surveys damage after strong storms hit

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Six people suffered minor injuries in storms that ripped through stores and homes in eastern Pennsylvania, authorities said Thursday morning.

The storms struck Wednesday night and shredded homes, tore several businesses and knocked down power lines and trees in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania, the Luzerne County Emergency Management said.

Drone video footage from Thursday morning showed roofs had been damaged or torn off several businesses. Trucks lay overturned in the parking lot at a U-Haul store.

No fatalities have been reported, Ron Smith, the township police chief, said at a news conference Thursday. Those with minor injuries were treated at the scene and didn’t have to go to a hospital, he said.

Emergency crews searched through debris for people who might not evacuated the area. Residents were asked to stay away.

The Arena Hub Plaza, a major shopping center in eastern Pennsylvania, received major damage.

Wilkes-Barre Township Mayor Carl Kuren said it was fortunate the bad weather hit about an hour after the mall closed. “There could have been a real catastrophe,” he said.

Smith said mall officials have told him they expect to reopen Friday.

The National Weather Service is expected to send a survey team Thursday to evaluate whether strong winds or a tornado caused the damage.

At least seven tornadoes have been reported in Pennsylvania this year, CNN meteorologists said.

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