May 31, 1998 Tornado OutbreakAn F0 to F3 tornado carved a discontinuous 60 mile long path across Tioga, Broome, and Delaware counties on Sunday May 31, 1998
A severe thunderstorm moved from Steuben county of New York into Tioga county where it intensified enough to spawn tornadoes Sunday evening. A narrow 60 mile long path was carved from Apalachin in Tioga county through the town of Binghamton in Broome county and on to deposit in Delaware county.
Damage produced by a weak tornado across Apalachin was classified as an F0 on the Fujita scale. The small tornado produced winds between 40 and 72 MPH. Damage ranged from large tree limbs down to tree tops snapped off over the hilltops. The path was about 200 feet wide at this point. Damage in vestal was mostly F1 with winds between 73 and 112 MPH. Several homes from Rockwell Road through Horan Road experienced damage around 545 PM EDT.
As the storm moved into the Binghamton and Conklin (see below) area between approximately 600 PM and 610 PM EDT, the tornado intensified and reached a category F2 producing winds between 113 and 157 MPH. A television station on Ingraham Hill (see below) sustained major structural damage. A 1000 foot television tower was twisted and toppled to the ground. A large trash dumpster was also lifted off the ground tossed into two satellite dishes and then tossed about 100 yards over an embankment. A sport utility vehicle was rolled over several times as witnessed by a television crew member. Another automobile was also moved and a three quarter inch video tape was carried one and one half miles away from the television station. The damage path at this point was about 100 yards wide.
The tornado weakened and lifted for a short period and crossed over Winsor at about 615 PM EDT in Broome county. There were a few places where brief touch downs were noticed. In this area damage was consistent with a weak F0 tornado and consisted of tree tops snapped and/or twisted off. The path was about 100 feet wide.
The storm reintensified as it moved into Sanford and produced F2 damage on Farnham Road at approximately 620 PM EDT. F1 damage was found as the tornado moved on to Ryan Road where a home had some siding and roofing torn off and a NYSEG electical sub station sustained significant damage (see below). A mobile home on Cheese Factory Road (see below) was also rolled over and destroyed during this time.
The tornado reached its maximum strength, F3 intensity producing winds between 158 and 206 MPH, over the town of Deposit at approximately 630 PM EDT. The path was consistent in direction and skipped along the hilltops with occasional touch downs into the valley floors. The greatest damage occurred on Nelson Frank Road (see below) where a house was completely destroyed. The only part of the structure that remained standing appeared to be a small interior closet. The occupants of the house described the noise as a freight train as the tornado approached. The path of the storm at this point was about 200 yards wide.
The storm began to weaken as it moved out of deposit. F2 damage occurred at about 635 PM EDT on Route 8 (see below) where several homes experienced significant roof and structural damage. Additional F0 to F1 damage was observed as the tornado continued to move eastward through Tompkins (see below) and Colchester townships. A second tornado was reported to have moved through this same area shortly after the first one...again producing F2 damage to a home on Route 8.
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National Weather Service
Binghamton Weather Forecast Office
32 Dawes Drive
Johnson City, NY 13790
Page last modified: May 28, 2008
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