Rescue crews went house to house searching for victims Wednesday after powerful storms slammed through the Eastern states for the second time this week. Two people were killed, scores of homes damaged and power was out for thousands of people.
The tiny town of Lake Carey, about 15 miles outside Scranton in northeastern Pennsylvania, was struck by an apparent tornado late Tuesday. Two people in a mobile home were killed and nine others injured.Rescuers were blocked by hundreds of fallen trees.
"It looks like a bomb hit us," said Wyoming County Commissioner Ron Williams.
"It appears that a tornado did touch down . . . and went right across the top of our county," Williams said. "We've had so many reports of mobile homes that are just torn right apart, and we can't find the people who belong to them."
No new victims had been found by midmorning today, but Wyoming County authorities were worried because downed trees and debris blocked searchers' access to some areas, said Pat Furneaux at the county emergency center.
Some 15,000 county residents were without power.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge declared disaster emergencies today in nine counties, and said he would decide later whether to ask for a federal disaster declaration.
Severe storms struck Tuesday from North Carolina to upstate New York.
It was the second round of violent weather this week. Five people were killed when storms swept through Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont late Sunday and early Monday. That same storm system caused widespread damage in the Midwest during the weekend.
In western Maryland, city officials said three apparent tornadoes struck Frostburg and nearby areas within a few hours Tuesday night, damaging 75 to 100 homes, shearing trees and rupturing gas lines. Only minor injuries were reported.
"It was just quiet for a while. Then, all of a sudden, you heard a rumble like a train, like they say," Kurt Weisenfluh said early today from an emergency shelter at Frostburg State University, where he had taken his wife and two children.
"You were hearing what you thought was thunder; and it just kept coming, man, like a freight train coming down on top of you."
A Pittsburgh storm, classified as a possible tornado, destroyed 15 buildings and damaged 250, mostly in the city's Mount Washington neighborhood, across the Ohio River from Three Rivers Stadium, said Allegheny County manager Glen Cannon.