Weather Service Confirms New York State’s First Tornado of the Year
While most parts of New York state have experienced fairly calm weather this week, others haven't been so lucky. And while tornadoes aren't too common across the state, they can occur. The National Weather Service confirms that the state's first tornado of 2022 struck Monday evening. While the tornado itself wasn't on the ground for long, survey teams say the storm left a path of damage across one area.
The National Weather Service says that a tornado touched down at 6:42 PM Monday evening in Genesee County. The twister snapped and uprooted the tree, while causing damage to several structures in the town of Alexander, just to the west of Route 98. The NWS says the tornado was rated an EF-0, the weakest on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with winds around 85 MPH. The tornado was on the ground for less than a mile.
The tornado formed along a line of severe storms that moved from Ohio into New York late Monday.
Do Tornadoes Strike New York Often?
According to records, the state as a whole averaged around 10 tornadoes a year from 1990 to 2010. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, New York saw a total of 12 tornadoes in 2021. Read more about tornadoes in New York HERE.
How Are Tornadoes Rated?
Tornadoes have been rated since 2007 by something called the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which measures the amount of damage a tornado causes. Before 2007, it was simply known as the Fujita Scale. An EF-0 is the weakest on the scale, while an EF-5 is the strongest. The most powerful tornadoes can produce winds in excess of 300 MPH and have been known to sweep foundations completely clean while tossing multi-ton structures tens of thousands of feet into the air. While many of the tornadoes that have struck New York state are generally on the weaker end of the scale, could a large tornado strike and do major damage? Some of it depends on location.
So, What's the Most Powerful Tornado to Ever hit NY?
There have been three recorded F4s that have touched down in New York state, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. The first happened on August 28, 1973, in Columbia County over mostly open land, causing minimal damage. Another F4 first touched down near Erie, Pennsylvania May 31, 1985, and then moved over the state line into New York. The third was a nearly mile-wide tornado that touched down in Montgomery County on July 10, 1989. The storm would stay on the ground for 42 miles, traveling four counties.
You also have to consider that many of these weather records generally only go back to the late 1800s, so there is no telling how many storms hit before those times.