Strong Pennsylvania storm damages businesses, overturns cars

U-Haul trucks parked on Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., are damaged after a strong storm moved through the area on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. A powerful storm has pounded parts of Pennsylvania, damaging buildings, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines. (Christopher Dolan/The Citizens' Voice via AP)
Debris is scattered in a parking lot near the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., after a powerful storm moved through the area on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.A strong storm has pounded parts of Pennsylvania, damaging buildings, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines. (Christopher Dolan/The Citizens' Voice via AP)
Vehicles damaged from a powerful storm are seen outside a U-Haul in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., Wednesday, June 13, 2018. A strong storm has pounded parts of Pennsylvania, damaging buildings, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines. The storm struck a shopping plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township Wednesday night. (The Citizens' Voice via AP)
Damaged cars are parked in a debris filled lot on Mundy Street near the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., after a powerful storm moved through the area on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. A strong storm has pounded parts of Pennsylvania, damaging buildings, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines. (Christopher Dolan/The Citizens' Voice via AP)
A powerful storm damaged the Panera Bread restaurant in the Arena Hub shopping area in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa., Wednesday, June 13, 2018. A strong storm has pounded parts of Pennsylvania, damaging buildings, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines. (Nico Rossi/The Citizens' Voice via AP)

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A strong storm pounded parts of Pennsylvania, damaging numerous businesses in a shopping plaza, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines.

The storm struck the Wilkes-Barre Township shopping plaza late Wednesday night. The area was under a tornado warning at the time.

Township police wrote on their Facebook page that there were reports of "multiple collapsed buildings." They asked drivers to avoid the area to allow emergency personnel access to the shopping plaza.

Photos posted on social media show shattered storefronts and major damage to businesses including a Panera Bread restaurant and a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Debris lay scattered in parking lots and on streets and sidewalks.

It was not immediately clear if there were any injuries.

Bruno Isles, a Panera employee, told the (Wilkes-Barre) Times Leader that he was washing dishes in the back of the restaurant at the time.

"My manager had us secure the doors," he said. "We had tables and chairs flying through the windows."

Isles said he suffered a minor scrape on his arm while he helped to get other people in the restaurant to safety.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania took to Twitter and urged people in the path of the storm to stay safe and "please heed the warnings and follow the directions of local officials."

The National Weather Service said it would be in Wilkes-Barre Township on Thursday to survey the damage and determine whether it was a tornado that touched down.

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