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'Ferocious winds' leave path of destruction

Region battered by heavy winds, rains

ERIE, Pa. -- Sunday’s deadly storms brought powerful winds and flooding rains across the region.

A storm brought a heavy path of destruction stretching from west of Sterrettania Road around 6 p.m.

On the border of Erie and Millcreek Township, significant damage was reported around 32nd Street and Pittsburgh Ave. Several utility poles were knocked down. A business in the area also had its roof ripped off.

Further west, the K-Mart at West 26 Street and Sterrettania Road sustained damaged with a door blown in. Shopping carts had been blown throughout the parking lot.

Nestled between between West 26th Street and Sterrettania Road is the 2800 block of Homer Avenue, where numerous large trees were uprooted or snapped.

Millcreek Township resident Kathy Weber and several family members had just finished eating dinner when they witness what she called “ferocious winds.” 

She said they were "just watching everything out back from my back windows. The wind blowing trees from their yards going across our backyard.”

Soon after, they realized two trees, in excess of 70-feet tall, had fallen inches from their front doorstep.

Neighbor Robert Brady was at home when he and his son “heard the wind picking up.” He said, “It kept getting stronger and louder. We heard some crashing noises. We looked out the windows and we saw a tree down."

At West 32nd Street and Sterrettania Road, several people ran inside Connie’s Ice Cream to seek shelter. 

The electricity “went out for like a couple of seconds and then it kicked back on,” said Jenida Rollie, the ice cream parlor’s manager. “We were the only ones really--us and Gerlach's were the only ones with power over in this area.”

Millcreek Township reported routes 20 and 5 were both impacted by the storm. Flooding made stretches of West 23rd Street resemble a river.

According to reports to the National Weather Service, there were at least 40 downed trees in Millcreek Township. The damage will be investigated to determine if it was caused by a tornado.

By late evening Sunday, Penelec reported that 5,500 customers in Erie County were without power and more than 7,000 Crawford County customers were in the dark.

The widespread and devastating damage prompted The American Red Cross to open a shelter for displaced residents at Belle Valley Elementary School.

Millcreek Township officials asked residents to report downed trees or other damage to 814-833-1303.

To report outages, call 888-LIGHTSS or 888-544-4877.

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