Thu July 10, 2014

How the weather service decides if a tornado touched down

Erik Heden, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Binghamton, in East Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

At least four tornadoes ripped through central and northern New York Tuesday evening. It's the National Weather Service that makes that determination if a funnel cloud touched down. It's a careful and calculated process.

Armed with a compass, camera and notepad and paper the next morning, meteorologists Erik Heden and Mike Jurewicz retraced a storm that roared through Onondaga County, knocking down trees and power lines.

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Wed July 9, 2014
Regional Coverage

Smithfield community in shock after tornado strikes; governor offers condolences

This house in Smithfield was pulled off its foundation, seen in background, and destroyed.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The National Weather Service has determined that it was a tornado that touched down in a rural part of Madison County last night, killing four people, including an infant.  

Barbara Watson, lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service, made the tornado determination after surveying  damage along Goff Road in the town of Smithfield.

"It will be declared a significant tornado.  It had wind speeds well over 100 miles per hour,” said Watson.

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Wed July 9, 2014
Regional Coverage

Tornado with winds at least 110 mph hit Smithfield

An aerial view of the damage in Smithfield
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The National Weather Service officially declared that it was a tornado that struck the town of Smithfield in Madison County, killing four people, destroying four homes and severely damaging three others.

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley announced that the victims include Kimberly Hillard, 35; her four-month-old baby, Paris Newman; Virginia Warner, 70; and Arnie A.D. Allen, 53.

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Thu June 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Verona cleaning up after tornado touches down

Damage caused to the Sav-On gas station in Verona by an EF1 tornado.
Provided by Fritz Scherz

The Oneida County town of Verona is still cleaning up after a tornado touched down and caused damage to homes, road signs, trees and businesses Tuesday night.

Town Councilman Fred "Fritz" Scherz lives only a few miles from where the tornado landed. He says he quickly reached out to the National Weather Service to survey the damages.

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Fri October 5, 2012
-Nature of Things

Disasters Can Be Beautiful

In the wake of Hurricane Isabel, John Weeks discusses how the aftermath of a storm can provide opportunity despite devastation. Nature always makes the necessary adjustments after a natural disaster, begging the question of whether these events are really disasters at all.

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Fri July 27, 2012
Regional Coverage

Storm update: Preliminary findings confirm tornado in Elmira

After Thursday's severe thunderstorms, thousands in the Southern Tier and Mid-Hudson regions continue to recover from the heavy winds. The National Weather Service says a tornado caused some of the damage.

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