Elmira (WSYR-TV/AP) – The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down near Elmira on Thursday afternoon.
The preliminary report says it had winds of 105 to 110 miles per hour and was rated “EF1” on the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Damage Scale (the second lowest rating).
Crews are continuing to clear trees and repair power lines that were brought down during the storm.
State Emergency Services Commissioner Jerome Hauer, state Office of Emergency Management Director Steve Kuhr and local officials plan to tour damage Friday afternoon.
It was around 4 p.m. Thursday when severe storms and high winds ripped through the Elmira area, toppling trees, slicing billboards in half and even lifting roofs off of homes and tossing them in the streets.
Rebecca Solomon of our sister station WETM says, "Up until about 4:00 the skies were nice, everything was great and it was hot outside and then all of a sudden the storm that was predicted came through our area. It did come as a big surprise because we’re not used to something like that happening."
Shelters were set up throughout the city and emergency crews cleared the roads to better assess the damage and help with repairs, which have put the community a little more at ease.
"[The community] knows that responders are there for them and people are looking out for their safety and the storm has come to an end, but for the most part it was an hour or two of craziness, but thankfully no injuries to report," said Solomon.
The National Weather Service will be sending a helicopter to assess the damage in the Elmira area to determine if a tornado did, in fact, touch down.