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    4 tornadoes confirmed in Pittsburgh area

    By Madeline Bartos,


    Multiple tornadoes confirmed around Pittsburgh area 05:58

    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Pittsburgh area has seen four confirmed tornadoes so far on Friday.

    The National Weather Service said it has confirmed four tornado touchdowns: near Harrison City in Westmoreland County, in the area of Lincoln-Mount Vernon-Elrama in Allegheny County, on Washington Boulevard near the Highland Park Bridge near Aspinwall and a "brief, weak tornado was photographed just north of the Allegheny County Airport," according to the National Weather Service.

    It has been a very active weather month for Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania has seen six tornadoes so far this year. In NWS Pittsburgh's coverage area, which includes parts of Ohio and West Virginia, there have been nine in May .

    May 2024 has had more tornadoes in the Pittsburgh area than any other May on record, including May 1985, which had a super outbreak on May 31 of that year, according to First Alert Meteorologist Ray Petelin.

    Video online shows what looks like a tornado or funnel cloud near Hyland Road near Harrison City.

    More video from East Liberty looking towards the Highland Park Bridge also appeared to capture a tornado or funnel cloud around 4:45 p.m. The NWS confirmed this as an EF1 tornado Friday evening, saying a damage survey team confirmed max wind speeds estimated at 105 mph.

    "Damage was noted at the Pittsburgh Zoo, and a number of trees and power poles were snapped along Washington Boulevard, and near the Highland Park Bridge. The tornado lifted shortly after crossing the Allegheny River," an NWS Pittsburgh official said Friday.

    Friday is a First Alert Weather Day because of the potential for severe weather.

    Pittsburgh-area cleaning up after tornadoes

    The National Weather Service is conducting storm surveys for the tornadoes, beginning with one Friday evening in Aspinwall. Surveys will be conducted in the Mount Vernon-Elrama area as well as Harrison City.

    KDKA-TV's Chris DeRose was out on Washington Boulevard near Allegheny River Boulevard where crews were trying to push back downed trees. One official at the scene said it was something they didn't need to happen, especially during rush hour.

    KDKA-TV's Jessica Guay reports

    Nearby, a funnel cloud was seen at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The zoo said all the animals, guests and employees are safe, but there is damage to the zoo's grounds. An assessment is underway, and more information will be provided later.

    In Elrama, one viewer told KDKA-TV that the storm went right through her backyard, taking out her pool.
    A tornado in Elrama took out one woman's pool. (Photo: Provided)

    WATCH: KDKA-TV's Ricky Sayer reports

    Gov. Josh Shapiro said his administration is in touch with local officials to offer help after the tornadoes. "We stand ready to help where needed," he said in a social media post.

    Why has Pittsburgh seen so many tornadoes this year?

    And why are they happening so early? NWS Pittsburgh meteorologist Fred McMullen said the lack of cold air this winter plays a big part.

    "When you don't have those cold winters and you go into a warm season pretty quickly in spring, you get that moisture up here, you get the wind shear with the system," McMullen told KDKA-TV earlier this week.

    Tornado season usually peaks around June in western Pennsylvania, and there could be more on the way.

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