Southern tier of NYS hit hard by Thursday’s severe weather

ALBANY, N.Y.–While the most severe weather occurred southwest of the immediate Capital Region, the State Office for Emergency Management still responded within minutes of the notification.

“We heard about it within a few minutes of actual touchdown,” says Stephen DiRienzo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

DiRienzo says they no wasted no time in responding to a possible tornado which appeared to have centered over the city of Elmira in Chemung County.

“They're going to have to go out and determine what the EF scale rating is, it could be a moderate tornado,” says DiRienzo.

“Whether this was a tornado, a straight line wind event, or a microburst, it's the same to us, we respond in the same way,” says Steven Kuhr, the director of SEMO.

Kuhr says shortly after the report came through, the state had people on the ground assessing the damage.

“What we need to do is worry about people first, human safety and life services,” he says. “What we need to know is does the state need to support the locals with any rescue assets, medical assets, and are their medical capabilities stable.”

While the storm did not follow it's predicted path through the Capital Region, it still affected part of New York State, in turn, putting the emergency management center to work.

“Meteorology is an inexact science,” says DiRienzo. “It didn't go exactly the way we had planned, it wasn't as active up here in the Capital District, but the southern tier got hit pretty hard with tornado activity, strong winds and a lot of damage.”

“We're very happy it passed the area, but we're responsible for emergency management across the entire state, so we're very concerned about the people of the counties that are being affected right now,” adds Kuhr.

The National Weather Service will likely confirm if it is an actual tornado within the next 24 hours.

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