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04/08/2020: Major Storm Destroys New Kensington Church Roof

Storm Causes Destruction During Holy Week

During the first week of April, a period where many Christians take part in Holy Week, a vicious storm passed through the New Kensington area and partially destroyed the roof of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

“When I heard the wind blowing in the night, I thought ‘oh Lord, protect everyone in New Kensington’ because it really sounded like a train,” said Monsignor Michael Begolly.

With Easter approaching, the festivities may be slightly different this year, since the damage done to the church would have to be tended to as soon as possible.

The New Kensington Fire Department received more than 10 calls across the city from residents concerned about St. Mary’s Church. While the firefighters attempted to salvage what they could, an architect and engineer were called in to see what could be done to restore the church to its former glory.

Strongest Wind Ever Recorded

Wind gusts of up to 75mph were recorded by weather officials at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Hangars at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport also suffered significant blows as a result of the wind. According to weather officials, the wind reached the strongest recording ever experienced at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Weather stations recorded an EF1 tornado that swept through the city, causing about 10 different incidents of damage and destruction. Some people discovered their vehicles tipped on the roofs, many trees were uprooted or just snapped in half, causing property damage across the city and some found their yard equipment and trampolines sitting in their front gardens.

Many mobile homes were also severely damaged by the storm that passed through the city. Some storefronts also suffered some damage as their windows were completely shattered by the fierce winds.

City Blackout

During these types of storms cities often experience blackouts in areas where the storm is the most severe and New Kensington was unfortunately not spared the disaster. Due to many trees being uprooted and destroying powerlines with their fall, more than 40 000 New Kensington residents were stuck in the dark during the vicious storm.

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