WESTERN PA. 2 homes, church hit by storms



Some Lawrence County residents were still without power this morning.
STAFF/WIRE REPORTS
FORD CITY, Pa. -- A strong line of thunderstorms that moved through western Pennsylvania on Tuesday destroyed at least two homes and a 150-year-old church and knocked down trees and power lines.
The damaged homes were in Manor Township in Armstrong County, about 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River.
County Commissioner Jim Scahill said there were no reports of serious injuries, but power was knocked out in the Ford City area during the storms that passed through after 1 p.m.
Funnel cloud reported
As the same line of storms moved eastward, someone reported a funnel cloud near Clymer, Indiana County, but the National Weather Service wasn't immediately able to confirm the report.
Meteorologist Lee Hendricks said the Pittsburgh office also noticed "radar signatures" consistent with a tornado at 1:38 p.m., about the same time as the report.
State police said there were no immediate reports of property damage or injuries in the area, about 55 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, only downed trees.
Also Tuesday, the storms spawned lightning that struck and burned down two buildings, including a 150-year-old church.
Lightning struck the steeple of the Pisgah Presbyterian Church in Corsica, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, and caused $650,000 damage, despite the efforts of up to 150 firefighters, said Tracy W. Zents, chief of the Corsica Volunteer Fire Company.
Lightning also set fire to and destroyed a barn in Limestone Township, about five miles south of Corsica, Zents said.
The weather service also reported scattered street flooding in Lawrence County, near New Castle, due to the same line of strong thunderstorms.
Mahoning Township, Lawrence County, appeared to have suffered the most storm damage.
Sharyn Critchlow, county emergency management director, said large trees were pulled out of the ground at U.S. Route 224 and Mohawk School Road. Some residents in that area were still without electric power this morning, she said.
High winds buckled garage doors and trees fell onto porches, she added.
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh is sending people out this afternoon to check both Lawrence and Mercer counties, said Ray Visneski, meteorologist.
Visneski said there was no indication on radar that a tornado touched down.
He noted a wind gust of 69 miles per hour was reported six miles south of Butler.