June 2nd, 1998 TornadoesA severe thunderstorm developed over western Bradford county and ultimately spawned a tornado over Terry township. Eyewitness reports and damage surveys indicate that the twister first touched down just east of Robwood mountain and west of State Route 2015 around 945 pm EDT. At this location, a mobile home was knocked off its foundation about 8 feet and sustained heavy damage on its front side. Fortunately for the two occupants who were inside the structure when the tornado struck, a farm vehicle, pickup truck, and storage shed all acted to stop the forward momentum of the trailer and prevent it from rolling down a fairly steep hill another 100 yards or so ahead. Another storage building just north of the mobile home was severely damaged with its roof completely torn off and some metal beams removed from the siding. As the tornadic cell continued eastward, the funnel appeared to elevate for a time as sporadic damage at tree top level was seen downstream for about a mile and a half. Once the storm crossed just east of Billetts Pond, it descended to flatten a large barn. Debris was scattered in all directions from where the barn once stood with a large section of the roof structure thrown 200-300 yards downwind. Meanwhile, a newly built home with a large rear deck only 150 yards or so from the large barn sustained relatively minor damage. What little damage was incurred appeared to be caused by flying wood strips from the barn. Further downstream, the tornado again apparently lifted back towards the cloud base with a discontinuous path of tree damage from that point east-southeastward across the Wyoming county line. Within Terry township, the tornado was rated as F1 intensity.
Aerial surveys indicate that intervals of tree damage occurred in northern Wyoming county from Braintrim eastward to just north of Meshoppen and then to near Valentine Hill on the border of Lemon township. This damage was primarily in the form of twisted off tree sections at canopy level and also some uprooted trees on hilltop areas. Between 1010 and 1015 pm EDT, the tornado lowered again down the east side of Valentine Hill, skipped across the far north end of Stevens Lake, and carved a path over a small hill just west of Lake Carey. Several residences along this path had heavy tree damage and minor siding and roof damage to their homes. The twister then seemed to turn temporarily towards the south and cross a portion of the long axis of Lake Carey. It was here within this small vacation community that the most severe damage occurred along with loss of life. Eyewitness accounts indicate that the tornado crossed State Route 1003 (a small causeway across the short axis of the lake in an east-west orientation) at about 1020 pm EDT. Every structure located along this narrow strip of land crossing Lake Carey either sustained substantial damage or was completely leveled. It was here where two fatalities occurred as an elderly woman and her grandson were literally sucked out of the second floor of a house and thrown into an adjacent building. Every nearby tree was snapped off, uprooted, or otherwise toppled in chaotic patterns.
At that point, the tornado made a jog to the left and resumed its eastward course. It crossed over State Route 1005, which parallels the eastern end of Lake Carey, then skipped up over a small hill.
Again, heavy damage was inflicted upon homes in the path of the tornado both along the east end of the lake and also going up the hill. A dozen or more small boats which were anchored along the eastern end of the lake were thrown up out of the water and onto the shoreline. One home going up the hill was reduced to only its foundation and a portion of the back wall. Massive tree damage continued to be evident with a swath of trees cut down in a narrow path going up over the hill and down its eastern side towards East Lemon township. A total of 42 homes in and around Lake Carey suffered considerable damage or were totally decimated. Preliminary damage estimates in excess of one million dollars have been quoted by county emergency management officials. The character of damage near Lake Carey indicates that the tornado strengthened to F3 intensity.
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National Weather Service
Binghamton Weather Forecast Office
32 Dawes Drive
Johnson City, NY 13790
Page last modified: June 2, 2008
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