Tornado touches down in Java, downing trees, power lines and damaging homes | Local News


A tornado touched down about 10:40 a.m. Thursday in Wyoming County, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado landed in Java just south of the intersection at Route 78 and Chaffee Road, then moved along an east-northeast path near Route 78 for about 10 miles before tapering off near Gainesville just west of Route 19 at about 10:55 a.m., according to a public information statement on the National Weather Service website. The tornado was on the ground for about 15 minutes. The path width was about 200 yards.

“We have a survey crew out there right now looking at the damage, and they have confirmed an EF 2 tornado occurred this morning,” said Jon Hitchcock, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga.

EF stands for Enhanced Fujita, which is the scale developed in 1971 by Ted Fujita used to rate the intensity of a tornado based on the amount and severity of the damage they cause. An EF 2 equates to wind speeds of between 111 and 135 mph, which would put Thursday’s tornado in the lower reaches of the strong category.

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No injuries were reported, but the tornado destroyed a barn, sending pieces of it hurtling 20 to 30 yards. In addition, trees were sent crashing on several houses along the tornado’s path, according to information on the National Weather Service website. The two meteorologists who were sent out to survey the damage also observed roof and shingle damage on several other residences along the path of the tornado.

Several powerlines also were knocked down.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Hitchcock said the meteorologists were just wrapping up their survey of the damage.

“They phoned this information in. This is our preliminary information about exactly where it was, the path width and some of that damage that it produced,” Hitchcock said.