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May 31, 1998 Tornado Outbreak

During the afternoon of May 31, 1998, a tornado of F2 intensity touched down near Plymouth in Chenango county. The path width was 3/8 mile with a length of approximately one mile. Extensive damage was found near Plymouth Reservoir (shown below). The difference between the northwest side of the reservoir and the southeast side was phenomenal. No damage was evident on the northwest side but massive damage with near complete destruction of trees was present on the southeast side. Some lake side cottages received light to moderate wind damage but most of the damage to structures was due to falling trees and limbs. Boats and small wood and metal sheds were tossed about. The most significant damage occurred to a medium sized travel trailer which was located in the direct path of the storm and was completely destroyed.

The forest on the southeast side of the lake was nearly flattened. Only twisted and broken shards of trees were left standing. There were eyewitness reports of a funnel dropping down on the lake and literally sucking water into it. First appearing on the northeast side of the lake then "jumping" to the south side and intensifying. There was also reports of debris being sucked up into the air and rotating about. Witnesses also reported a sound like "the roar of a train" commonly associated with tornadoes.

The storm moved east and weakened to an F0 tornado as it touched down 1.5 miles east of Norwich on State Route 23. The path width was 1/4 mile with a length of 75 yards. Broken tree limbs and a few uprooted trees (shown below) were found on the windward side of a north-south ridge line. The damage area extended in at west to east direction and was parallel to or directly on State Route 23. One billboard was blown down and some metal roofing was blown off a very large barn. There was also some roof and siding damage to a small house about 1/8 of a mile to the southeast of the barn. Firemen in the City of Norwich observed a funnel cloud moving in the direction of the damage.

Click for a large view.

Trees Down Norwich, NY
Trees Down Norwich, NY
Mobile Home Destroyed Plymouth
Mobile Home Destroyed Plymouth
Trees Down Plymouth
Trees Down Plymouth

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Page last modified: March 17, 2008
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