Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium assessing damage after EF-1 tornado touched down in Highland Park

PITTSBURGH — The first tornado in Pittsburgh city limits since 1998 struck the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium Friday.

According to the National Weather Service, an EF-0 with speeds of up to 80 miles an hour hit just before 5 p.m.

Zoo officials tell Channel 11 that no people or animals were hurt.

Falling trees did crush a car in the parking lot and knocked out power to the front gates.

The tornado then gained strength as it moved toward Rt. 8 and the Highland Park Bridge. The National Weather Service estimates it hit there as an EF-1 with speeds over 100 mph.

Trees fell there, too, taking down power lines.

“Today was not a day that tornadoes really should’ve been expected,” Matthew Kramar with the NWS said. “None of these storms was producing rotation on the radar that was on a scale that would warrant a tornado warning under normal circumstances.”

“We are well ahead of schedule on tornado season. We average four to six per year. We’ve already had nine so far in May.”

There was a prom going on at the Zoo Friday evening. Officials tell us students arrived after the tornado hit.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW

Comments on this article