JAVA, N.Y. (WIVB) – An EF-2 tornado with wind speeds up to 115 mph touched down Thursday morning in Wyoming County, the National Weather Service said in its preliminary report. No injures were reported.
The NWS believes the tornado was on the ground for 15 minutes after touching down in Java, just south of the intersection of Route 78 and Chaffee Road. It had a maximum estimated width of about 500 yards and a track length of 10 miles, running on an east-north path to just north of Gainesville.
“Wind, rain, debris.. I saw branches flying and that was it. I blinked and it was gone,” said Sam Marlett, who’s barn was destroyed after a tornado barreled through her neighborhood.
“It’s an older barn that had a good strong foundation but obviously mother nature won on that one,” she said.
Her animals, which were inside the barn at the time are all ok.
Josh Rewa, who lives on route 78 left work early, after hearing that a tornado swept through his yard.
“Well I got a call from my girlfriend when I was at work and I could barely understand what she was saying, I had seen on my phone that there was a tornado warning and when I got the call she was just frantically screaming and upset,” he said. “I just left work jumped right in the truck and came home to this mess here.”
With top winds of 115 mph, many of the trees surrounding his property stood no chance.
“There’s gotta be a couple hundred trees down, each side of our woods here and of course the whole front of our house we had a nice row of pine trees blocking the road but they all got taken out and they took down our electric service with the trees,” Rewa told News 4.
The tornado touched down at approximately 10:40 a.m. A tornado warning issued for the area expired at 11:15 a.m.
“To repeat, a tornado is on the ground,” the NWS said in an alert at 10:53 a.m. “TAKE COVER NOW!”
The storm collapsed a barn in Java, with the NWS stating that a portion of the structure was thrown 20 to 30 yards away.
Route 78 remained closed between Chaffee Road and Route 36 for much of the day due to downed trees.
Tornados are graded on a scale between EF-0 and EF-5, with 5 being the most severe.
An EF-2 tornado is rare in Western New York. According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s database of New York state tornados, the last EF-2 tornado in the area was the 2017 tornado near the Hamburg Fairgrounds. Before that, there hadn’t been one since 2011.
Thursday’s tornado was the second of the year in Western New York. An EF-0 twister was recorded in Genesee County in April.
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