WESTFIELD - The National Weather Service has confirmed that two separate tornadoes touched down in Chautauqua County late Monday afternoon, one in Fredonia and one in Westfield.
The two tornadoes were part of a powerful storm that blew through the region Monday. The Buffalo office announced the development at a news conference Tuesday at the Westfield Fire Department.
The Weather Service says the first tornado touched down in Fredonia at 5:10 p.m. The second storm hit Westfield about 15 minutes later. The tornadoes are being described as EF2 tornadoes. An EF2 tornado is described as having winds of 110 to 137 mph.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Judy Levan from the National Weather Service Office in Buffalo and Director of Emergency Service for Chautauqua County Julius Leone speak to reporters Tuesday during a press conference at the Westfield Fire Hall where they confirmed two tornadoes had touched down during Monday’s storm.
Photo by Jenna Loughlin
According to Julius Leone, director of the Chautauqua County Emergency Services, the announcement occurred due to a survey of the damage.
"As a result of the survey this morning on the potential tornadoes in Fredonia and Westfield, both have been classified as EF2 tornadoes," he said.
The result came from a damage report and tracking of the storm, which led to the classification. Winds reported from the two storms ranged from 110 to 118 mph, he said. He also said that both storms traveled about the same distance of about 3 to 4 miles and were about 125 yards wide. Both storms caused damage to the areas, including houses and other structures.
The storm near Westfield caused the most damage, severely damaging about eight to 10 buildings according to Westfield fire officials. One of the barns, located along Sherman-Westfield Road, was about 100 years old and made of wood. The 12,000-square-foot building was toppled.
"The amount of destruction in Westfield was more because of the path of the tornado," he said. "There were more buildings in its path and in Fredonia/town of Pomfret it was mostly open areas, though there was damage to buildings."
No deaths were reported in either incident. Two people were taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital to be checked out after their house received substantial damage in the storm, Leone said.
"There was a home destroyed in Westfield," said Leone. "Westfield Fire transported them to Westfield Memorial Hospital last night, and they are now being assisted by the Red Cross."
The American Red Cross Disaster Action Team from the Chautauqua County District of the Southwestern NY Chapter was dispatched to provide disaster relief assistance to meet the emergency needs of the two victims. David Brown, a Disaster Action Team volunteer from Westfield, responded to provide initial disaster assistance. Temporary housing, clothing and meals were items that may have been provided to ensure the emergency needs of the victim. The Red Cross will continue to assist the victims of this tragedy with additional services and referrals, if needed.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is a gift. It is made possible through the contributions of the American people and the residents of Chautauqua County. The United Ways of Chautauqua County provide financial support to the chapter's local disaster relief program.
According to Leone, one other home sustained a lot of damage, such as wires down, and garages and barns destroyed. Damage included roofs torn off garages, trees down and power lines down.
The weather service issued 11 tornado warnings Monday night from 5 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. as a line of strong thunderstorms moved in that stretched from Texas to Maine. Winds in excess of 100 mph did extensive damage across many parts of Western New York.
According to Judy Levan of the National Weather Service office in Buffalo, prior to Monday, no tornadoes have been reported in November in the last 60 years.