Confirmed tornado in West Virginia near Pennsylvania border leaves behind path of destruction

In Fairhaven, Hancock County, a small community in West Virginia, debris and a mangled pile of metal that used to be a large garage can be found on Smith Road.


It’s a popular spot for campers and RVs, some of which were destroyed Wednesday morning when a radar confirmed tornado tore through their area, leveling buildings, houses, and property, but somehow, sparing lives. The National Weather Service determined it was an EF2 tornado with winds up to 130 miles per hour.

NWS says it’s the first recorded tornado in Hancock County.

“It was just like a train coming through here,” said Joanna Plunkett. “I don’t know how I’m still standing. It is a miracle. God kept all of us safe.”

The RV that she and her husband were hiding in was somehow spared, while her neighbor’s camper, parked just a few yards away, was decimated by the storm.

“We did not know that he wasn’t in the camper, so we were yelling for him, looking for him, yeah…it’s a little traumatic,” Plunkett said.

Luckily, Robert Manson escaped his RV and made it to another neighbor’s house in the nick of time.

“I woke her up, saved her life because she was in the 12-foot addition that was ripped off the house,” Manson said. “The rush of wind started shaking the house…windows blowing out of the house…”

Neighbors in Hancock County spent much of the morning picking up the pieces and sifting through debris, trying to salvage what they could.

“I’m not from West Virginia, but I know a lot of people around here. They’re a tight-knit community, and they will get through it,” Plunkett said.

It was a terrifying wake-up call that ended in a path of destruction, but both Plunkett and Manson know there could have been a much different outcome.

“Thank the Lord. That’s about it,” Manson said.

Hancock County 911 said a woman was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but no one was seriously hurt.

The tornado hit near the Pennsylvania border, about a mile from Beaver County.

Severe storms in the Pittsburgh region knocked over trees and disrupted power to thousands.

The National Weather Service is surveying an area from Ohio to Pennsylvania to determine the path of the tornado, and to see if any more touched down.

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