Tornadoes - May 31, 1985 - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-31-2015, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

How time flies, been 30 years since the tornadoes devastated NW PA. I was able to drive through Forest County about a week later when we were able to get back into the camps along German Hill Road. Took quite a few photos. I have talked to many individuals over the years and got first-hand accounts of their experiences when the storms hit. It puts a chill down your spine listening to them recall the day the storms hit and the following weeks of cleaning up. A good book to read that documents a lot of these people's experiences is Tornado Tales, that is available at the Tionesta Library.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 02:14 AM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

I always stop and read the tale of survival of the boy scout troop in parker dam state park in Clearfield county. Its absolutely amazing. Total devastation for miles and miles around and that ccc camp those boys were in probably saved them.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 10:23 AM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

The Tionesta library also has an interesting collection of VHS tapes of the tornado aftermath. It's crude, unedited amatuer footage done by locals but neat to watch.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 03:21 PM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

When my parents bought our camp there was a copy of Tornado Tales left from the previous owner.

2F for a while...
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 03:42 PM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

One of those tornadoes went through my hometown and a kid I know was buried under the rubble for a couple days.
Another one went very close to my camp through Kane. Road up to check things out and the Nat'l Guard had roads blocked off. Missed the camp and tore up some of my really good hunting spots, but also created sopme good spots in the end.
Hard to believe 30 years ago.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 07:31 PM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

My wife and I and our son were on our way to camp that night and we didn't know what was happening. Rt. 120 was closed near Keating so we back tracked up to Crossfork and then to Rt. 6 west to Port Allegany. Rt. 155 south was just opened up just north of our camp road when we arrived around midnight. One of the emergency workers told us about the tornado. The next morning we were heading to Niagra Falls and we couldn't believe the devastation!
The tornado path was about 1 mile through the woods from camp. That was really some night.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2015, 12:36 PM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

Don't remember the year, but recall a twister that flattened a two story farmhouse over in Potter with two teenagers inside, some years ago.

Both survived, one wound up in the basement.

There was also one that came down thru Elimsport (south side of the mtn. below Williamsport) and later crossed Rt. 15, destroying a campground that we went past on the way to camp.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2015, 12:47 PM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

I remember the night it happened. I was at Pirates game with as a member of my local Little League team. On the way home coming up Rt 8 toward Butler there were trees down everywhere. I remember sitting in Three Rivers Stadium that night watching the lightning off in the distance and had no clue what was really going on.

Growing up and living in an area close to the Central Electric HQ, I know a bunch of guys that were involved in rebuilding the electrical infrastructure in that area destroyed by these storms... with HPA's own BigRedNeck included as one of those guys.

Time sure does fly...incredible its been 30 years.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2015, 12:49 PM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

You can still see the track of the tornado as it crosses many of the small trout streams in the region. I've seen this while fishing many of these streams.

There is a wide swath in which every tree was flattened. Now there is a lot of brush growing up among all that downed timber. Makes for interesting walking!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-02-2015, 12:57 PM
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Re: Tornadoes - May 31, 1985

In 1985 I worked for Lezzer Lumber in Butler . I made endless deliveries to the Mars and Evens City areas after the tornado tore through .The scenes of destruction and stories from victims is something I pray I will never see again . One house untouched and the next completely gone . Looks of hopelessness on peoples faces will always remain with you . The force and devastation was unbelievably sad .
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