CAMPBELLTOWN, Pa. – Residents began returning home Thursday under the watch of state police a day after storms damaged at least 50 houses and hurt two dozen people.
Utility crews and insurance adjusters started assessing the damage, and weather experts were on the way to determine whether the thunderstorms had spawned a tornado in this south-central Pennsylvania town of 2,400.
Ian Zimmerman, who works for a local building restoration company, was waiting for a trash recepticle to arrive as he stood outside a damaged home.
"I've never seen anything like this before," he said.
Melissa and Brian Bucciarelli, who moved into the development in December, had come back after Wednesday's storms to find their house flattened but recovered a photo album from their honeymoon in Italy.
"You can't even fathom what you do next," said Melissa Bucciarelli, 29.
Among the injured, one woman remained hospitalized in critical condition.
At least 30 homes in the neighborhood were leveled or appeared uninhabitable, and at least 20 sustained some damage, said Daniel Kauffman, acting director of the Lebanon County Emergency Management Agency (search).
Tornado warnings had been posted, and funnel-cloud shaped formations were reported, but authorities couldn't immediately confirm that a twister had formed.
About 100 miles to the east, meanwhile, about 200 residents of Lumberton, N.J., were also returning home Thursday after being evacuated because heavy flooding.
The town and surrounding Burlington County (search), which stretches east from Philadelphia through the south-central part of the state, received an additional one-quarter to one-half inch of rain late Wednesday, following torrential rains Monday and Tuesday that burst a dozen small dams and forced more than 750 people from their homes.
A flood watch was posted until Thursday afternoon for Pemberton Township (search) as authorities monitored a storm-battered dam on Rancocas Creek that was in danger of collapse.
In the Louisville, Ky. area, about half of the 115,000 homes and businesses that lost power in strong storms Wednesday were still without it Thursday morning, and some may not get it back until next week, Louisville Gas & Electric said.
At their peak, power outages numbered in the hundreds of thousands statewide as the straight-line winds, reaching sustained gusts of 80 mph, toppled trees and power lines. In Louisville, some officials said the outages were the worst since devastating tornados 30 years ago.