While most parts of New York State had fairly calm weather this week, others weren’t so lucky. And while tornadoes aren’t too common throughout the state, they can happen. The National Weather Service confirms the state’s first tornado of 2022 struck Monday night. Although the tornado itself did not stay on the ground long, survey crews said the storm left damage in one area.
The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down at 6:42 p.m. Monday night in Genesee County. The tornado snapped and uprooted the tree, while causing damage to several structures in the town of Alexander, just west of Highway 98. The NWS says the tornado was rated 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 to New York on Monday night.
How often do tornadoes hit New York?
According to records, the state as a whole averaged about 10 tornadoes per year from 1990 to 2010. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, New York experienced a total of 12 tornadoes in 2021. Learn 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 caused by a tornado. Prior to 2007, it was known simply 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 of over 300 MPH and have been known to completely sweep away foundations while throwing multi-ton structures tens of thousands of feet into the air. While many of the tornadoes that have hit New York State are typically on the weaker end of the scale, could a large tornado strike and cause major damage? It partly depends on the location.
So what’s the strongest tornado to ever hit NY?
According to the Democrat and Chronicle, three registered F4s have landed in New York State. The first occurred on August 28, 1973 in Columbia County over mostly open land, causing minimal damage. Another F4 first landed near Erie, Pennsylvania on May 31, 1985, then crossed the state line to New York. The third was a nearly mile-wide tornado that touched down in Montgomery County on July 10, 1989. The storm would remain on the ground for 42 miles, traversing four counties.
You also need to consider that many of these weather records usually only date back to the late 1800s, so it’s unknown how many storms hit before that time.