CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Damaging, 100-110 mph winds tore through Poe Valley State Park in Centre County during Sunday’s severe weather. The National Weather Service has surveyed the area and ruled the storm a microburst.
The winds are equivalent to an EF-1 tornado.
Multiple campsites were in use during the storm, but no one was hurt. Kenton Filipowicz arrived at Poe Valley an hour before the weather.
“Listening to the radio we thought, oh, it’s very broad from Huntingdon to Lock Haven,” said Filipowicz. “And it smack dab in the middle of the woods came after us.”
Filipowicz, his wife, and their two children pitched the tent and went to Filipowicz’s parents camper for dinner. Then, at 7:32 p.m., the winds came through.
“My car was smashed, my trailer was smashed,” said Filipowicz. “The guy behind us, his driver side was caved in, and he was in his tent and he said he got picked up off the ground, so it was pretty wild.”
Park managers said the winds also knocked down about 50 trees.
“Fortunately, the area that was affected the most, we were only three sites occupied, it was a Sunday night,” said Joshua Bruce, park manager for Poe Valley State Park. “If would have happened Saturday night, we were full.”
After the winds passed, Filipowicz said he began checking on other campers.
“For somebody to get emergency help down here, it doesn’t come very quick,” said Filipowicz.
He said he was grateful his family was in a camper at the time of the microburst.
“Had we not been there, we would have been in our car and as you can see, with two kids, that wouldn’t have been too great,” said Filipowicz. “I’ve seen some pretty wild things, but this tops it.”
Park Manager Bruce said they’re doing the best they can to clean up the site and have it open for the campers who have reservations this upcoming weekend.