Severe Thunderstorm Strikes Allegheney East Campground 
Academy, conference buildings incur major damages
quick, fierce and severe thunderstorm – which some said was just short of a tornado – struck much of Berks County, Pennsylvania on the evening of June 26, as the Sabbath approached. Among locations sustaining damage were the grounds of Pine Forge Academy, home also to the sponsoring Allegheny East Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and temporary quarters for 1,500 camp meeting visitors that evening.
 INTENSE STORM HITS TENTS: One of many worship tents that were flattened in the storm’s wake. [Photo: George Johnson, Jr.]

No injuries were reported, but there was considerable damage to both the conference office building and the Pine Forge Academy administration building’s roof. An insurer has been contacted and repairs are being planned.
The storm, which media reports indicate packed winds of up to 35 knots, was accompanied by heavy rains and golfball-sized hail. "The storm lasted about 15 minutes at the Academy complex," said George Johnson, Jr., North American Division media relations director who was there. It also flattened several worship tents that were set up for the annual camp meeting.
Services were redistributed the following day: those not already on the campgrounds stayed in hotels and worshipped there. Entry to the Academy was restricted after the storm since the damage included a loss of electrical power, disabling a pumping system for water there.
“ Full electrical power was restored back to the campgrounds on Saturday evening, June 27,” the conference’s Web site reported.
The meetings, which are expected to conclude on Sunday morning, July 5, resumed after power was restored.
The Allegheny East Conference was formally organized in 1966, after the predecessor Allegheny Conference was deemed to have grown too large and was split into two regions. As of 2007, Allegheny East had more than 32,000 members worshipping in 98 congregations.


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