ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Severe Weather Awareness Week in New York State ends Friday and as we gear up for the warmer months, damaging winds, flooding rains, and even the occasional tornado are all weather hazards to be aware of as we get into the heart of severe weather season.

I spoke with Meteorologist David Zaff at the National Weather Service in Buffalo, who says the biggest concern for us is damaging winds. 

“…and when I refer to winds, I’m referring to what we would say is straight line winds. That’s the kind that’s not tornadic, and a lot of people think, oh yeah that’s just another storm, but some of those wind events that we get from thunderstorms can be as dangerous and some could be quite deadly,” says Zaff.  

The best thing you can do for yourself is to be weather aware, whether it’s a severe thunderstorm warning or a tornado warning being issued it’s important to take every warning seriously and take the appropriate action when it’s needed. 

“Across the state of New York on average we get about 10 tornadoes per year. There was one last week just in the Catskills, so it’s not that it doesn’t happen, it certainly does. Here In WNY we average about 2 per year. We had 2 last year, Zaff says.

You may remember the EF-2 tornado that touched down in Wyoming county just last July. Of all the types of severe weather we get, tornadoes are the ones with the least amount of lead time, which is why it’s critical to be prepared. 

“The main concern would be those rotating winds can do quite a bit of damage very quickly,” Zaff says. 

Finding a sturdy location away from windows such as a bathroom or a closet will be the safest option as anything severe will can knock down trees, power lines and doing damage to your home. It is all the more important to also have an easy means of receiving warnings whether that’s on your phone or TV when they do strike.

When severe weather is in the forecast, you can download the News 8 app to get the latest weather alerts and updates sent right to your smartphone. 

If you want to learn more about severe weather you can sign up for Skywarn Spotter Training happening next Thursday, May 4 at Monroe County’s Emergency Operations Center. You can register online at