Tornado Damages Business in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- A weak tornado spawned by strong thunderstorms descended on a northeast Philadelphia block Wednesday, tearing part of the roof off a beer distributor and a bar and restaurant and demolishing a car repair shop.

The fire department was called at about 1:50 p.m. about the damage on Northeast Avenue. Officials said two people were injured, but no serious injuries were reported.

"It blew the roof off and pretty much totaled the place," Gloria Deckard of the Beer Hut told The Philadelphia Inquirer, as she worked to clear out what could be salvaged from the establishment that she said has been there since 1974. "It just went through and got us."

The National Weather Service confirmed that the damage was caused by an EF-0 tornado, the weakest on the 0-to-5 Fujita scale. The storm was packing winds up to 75 mph and was 100-feet wide. It traveled along a 300-foot path.

The winds also brought down the roof of R&R Car Repair next door, injuring at least two workers inside, WPVI-TV reported.

Benny the Bum's Crabhouse, a well-known neighborhood watering hole, also lost part of its roof.
The southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross said it was assisting four residents.

The weather service said the last confirmed tornado in the city hit the Marconi Plaza in south Philadelphia on Jan. 18, 1999, injuring 18 people.

Witnesses Describe Philly Tornado: MyFoxPHILLY.com