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  • CBS Pittsburgh

    Pittsburgh area experiencing unprecedented tornado season

    By Ricky Sayer,


    Pittsburgh area experiencing unprecedented tornado season 03:26

    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A wicked week of weather has left residents picking up the pieces throughout the region after multiple tornadoes touched down, including the first in Pittsburgh city limits since 1998.

    It's been an active and unprecedented tornado season for Southwestern Pennsylvania, and according to experts, storm season began a bit early this year.

    Over the past two weeks, we've seen storms and high winds create a path of destruction throughout the region, including last weekend in Washington County, before it started again yesterday in parts of Westmoreland, Washington, and Allegheny counties.

    The National Weather Service confirmed 19 tornadoes in the tri-state area this year, with 10 in Pennsylvania.

    Fourteen happened this month alone, the most we've seen in May since 1985. Four of those twisters happened across the Pittsburgh region on Friday.

    These numbers are abnormally high. The average number for the entire year is six.

    The Pittsburgh Zoo did not take a day off Saturday after a tornado came through on Friday. Parts are a bit messy with leaves and tree limbs strewn about.

    On people's minds was just how rare it was that a tornado was in the city itself.

    Tornadoes and Western Pennsylvania don't typically find themselves in the same sentence.

    "It's not something that usually happens; it's like a Kansas thing," Mat Georgetti said.

    Or so Georgetti thought. He spent his day at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

    "It's kind of wild because we have a bunch of mountains here."

    Over in Westmoreland County, National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Kramar was assessing the damage of what was determined to be an EF0 tornado.

    "People are very lucky. It moved over highly residential areas. This is a crisis adverted in a way that the damage was as minimal as it was. The tornado was not very strong, but still enough to cause damage to trees, siding, shingles," Kramar said.

    He got a look at a trampoline that was mangled.

    "All of a sudden, I saw the wind going crazy behind me," Matt Kaninberg said.

    Kaninberg says it all happened quickly.

    "I didn't think anything of it. My wife calls me and says you need to get outside now. I look[ed] out, and my trampoline was two houses down; it was crazy."

    Kramar says we average four to six tornadoes a year. We've had 19 this year, including 14 in May alone.

    "We are well ahead of schedule on our tornado season," Kramar said.

    Zoo employee Christopher Haro experienced the storm on his way home.

    "It's a bit scary," Haro said. "It's a real shocker, I mean, the hot and the cold weather, especially this late in the season already, it's a lot of devastation going on, so we're worrying driving home, being inside the house or even with the dogs at home, it's a lot."

    Everyone is hoping the weather simply calms down.

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