A category EF-2 tornado touched down Thursday morning in Java, Wyoming County, not far from Letchworth State Park, the National Weather Service in Buffalo confirmed.
Weather Service meteorologists said that the tornado touched down at 10:40 a.m., just south of Chaffee Road and Route 78, where it was reported that a barn collapsed and some trees were uprooted. The tornado traveled east for 10 miles to Gainesville, just west of Route 19 for about 15 minutes.
The tornado path was about 500 yards wide. The peak gust of the tornado was 115 mph, according to the Weather Service. A tornado warning was underway in Wyoming County at the time the twister touched down.
Weather Service meteorologist David Zaff said that crews quickly headed to the scene to investigate the damage, so they could determine what strength the tornado measured on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which rates tornados based on estimated wind speed and damage. The scale measures tornadoes between an EF-0 and an EF-5. An EF-2 tornado is considered strong and consists of winds between 111 and 135 mph and cause considerable damage.
According to the Wyoming County Office of Emergency Services, the tornado caused more than $1.2 million in damages to structures in the area. As of Friday morning, 24 buildings were damaged, said Brian Meyers, Wyoming County's director of fire and emergency management. The most significant damage included two demolished barns, three garages/barns with major damage, eight houses with moderate damage and 11 other properties with minor damage, he said.
**UPDATED** (Path Width) - An NWS Storm Survey Team has confirmed a tornado in southern Wyoming County. The preliminary survey results are an EF-2 strength tornado, with maximum winds of 115 mph. The path length was about 10 miles, with a maximum width of 500 yards. pic.twitter.com/tYLSpTkxMM
— NWS Buffalo (@NWSBUFFALO) July 28, 2022
Here’s the timelapse! pic.twitter.com/o752d0iyc8
— NYS Mesonet at UAlbany (@nysmesonet) July 28, 2022
New York tornadoes usually rated as weak
New York is far from Tornado Alley and Dixie Alley, the portions of the southern Plains and Deep South that on average endure the most and the strongest twisters.
More than 80% of the tornadoes reported in New York are categorized as EF-0 or EF-1 on a scale that goes up to EF-5. While they can damage property and occasionally take lives, they're rated as weak, with winds under 110 mph.
New York storm tracks average 3 miles in length.
A history of twistersTornadoes in New York since 1950
July, when summer heating is at its greatest, is the peak month for tornadoes in New York. August is second, followed by May and June.
Recent tornadoes in Rochester area
The last tornado to touch down in the area was in Genesee County in April, when an EF-0 traveled three-quarters of a mile in Alexander. Before that, an EF-1 tornado touched down in Livingston County in September, when a twister traveled less than a mile and was on the ground for three minutes, starting in Conesus and ending in Springwater. In July 2020, an EF-0 tornado touched down in Wheatland, was on the ground for 4.2 miles and ended in Scottsville.
According to the Weather Service, Thursday's twister was the seventh EF-2 tornado logged by the Buffalo office since 2007.
Weather Service data shows the most recent EF-2 tornado in Western New York touched down in Erie County in July 2017 and traveled southwest for just over 6 miles. Closer to Rochester, the most recent EF-2 tornado took place in Savannah, Wayne County, in August 2011 and traveled east for about four miles, snapping trees, downing utility poles and ripping off the roofs of several homes and destroying a barn. The twister then touched down again in Cayuga County
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Tornado in Java, Wyoming County, ruled an EF-2, traveled 10 miles