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Business recovers after last week’s tornado

Imagine $15,000 worth of damage in less than 10 seconds.  It’s possible.

Last week’s twister that shook up a small section of the Northeast is leaving a couple of small businesses in recovery mode. Keith Walsh is the manager of Ace High Auto, located off Northeast Avenue in. Just before 2 p.m., Walsh and his staff were sitting inside their office enjoying a peaceful lunch break when the twister rattled their bones.

“It got real dark and I heard all kinds of glass breaking behind us. It sounded like a jet engine coming by. It was crazy. I turned around and saw the funnel coming right up the driveway,” Walsh said.

While Walsh said he was thankful that no customers were on the shop’s premises at the time of the twister, he estimated that between $10,000 and $15,000 worth of damage was caused to the building’s exterior.

Ace High Auto was finally able to reopen its doors earlier this week when power was restored. Walsh said the shop’s customers have shown continuous support during this difficult time of rebuilding.

Ace High Manager Keith Walsh turns on his computer for the first time since a twister struch the business May 18. Photo by Danny Donnelly.
(Ace High Manager Keith Walsh turns on his computer for the first time since a twister struch the business May 18. Photo by Danny Donnelly.)

“Our customers are loyal. I’ve actually had four cars that have been sitting here since [last]Wednesday,” Walsh said. “They told me to just hold onto them.”

The tornado was classified as an EF0 tornado by the National Weather Service. This marks the ninth tornado to hit the Philadelphia region since 1958. While it may be considered the weakest number on the Enhanced Fujita Scale (the system of measurement for tornados), an EF0 twister can still pack a punch with winds ranging from 65 to 85 mph.

Tornado counts across the United States have been record breaking this year. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center reports there have been 1,189 eyewitness tornado sightings since January. If you see, hear or feel anything out of the ordinary, take Walsh’s advice and, “Get outta there!”

Gina Benigno and Danny Donnelly are students reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.


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