SCOTTSVILLE, N.Y. (WROC) — In Upstate New York, tornadoes aren’t usually a concern the majority of the time. But on Wednesday evening, a tornado warning was issued in Monroe County for the first time since 2009.
The National Weather Service confirmed on Thursday afternoon that an EF-0 tornado touched along the Oatka Creek from south of Wheatland Center to south of Scottsville in Monroe county. An EF-0 is the weakest level on the scale, but winds are ranging between 65 and 85 mph.
Suzanne Stokoe, owner of Stokoe Farms in Scottsville, said she was driving home to the farm when the winds and rains hit Wednesday evening. She was forced to pull over before slowly making her way back.
“Just a roll of wind came through,” she said. “It happened really quickly, I was driving up in Caledonia … just sheets of blinding white-out rain and wind,” she said.
Stokoe said there wasn’t enough time to get all the animals sheltered out in pastures, once she arrived home.
“Our animals..we had a couple trees come down in our pasture…we are super lucky, it was scary but we’re fine,” she said. “It was a little unsettling, and definitely none of the weather we’re used to getting around here.”
A few trees came down in front of the farm, and into the road. Stokoe said crews from the Town of Wheatland cleared the roads with the Deputy Highway Superintendent by 9 p.m. last night. The sheriff was also there to block off the road.
“We had a couple of trees come down throughout the town and within the five-mile radius, we had to cut them up, push them out of the road,” said Jeff Ayers, Deputy Highway Superintendent. “It didn’t take us long maybe two and a half, three hours out here to clear everything out of the roads,” said Ayers.
Stokoe said The National Grid was also out on the scene quickly, and power was only out for a half hour or so before they got the line up safely and restored. Several hundred were without power in the region.
Stokoe has lived in Scottsville her whole life, and said she has seen micro-bursts here and there — but nothing like what happened on Wednesday evening.
“Especially having to drive through it, probably one of the worst I’ve seen,” she said.
Clean-up crews from Monroe County and the Town of Wheatland also finished up clearing out any remains on Thursday afternoon.
Several neighbors in the area declined to speak on camera, but said they didn’t think to secure a safe place in the house — cautionary measures never crossed their mind.
While tornado warnings may be rare in Monroe County, it’s still important to be prepared ahead of time. People usually have minutes or even seconds to shelter in a basement, or the lowest level of a home, away from windows. The rule of thumb is to get as many walls between you and the outdoors. If people don’t have a basement, this could be a bathroom or a closet. But the key is to plan where your safe room is well in advance, so you’re never caught off guard.