July 21, 2003 Tornado
(updated for Columbia County tornadoes)
The severe weather season to date had been unusually quiet. There was a minor outbreak of severe weather on May 1st and since then only a couple isolated reports of severe weather. On July 21st two waves of severe weather caused considerable damage across eastern New York and Western New England.
|Storm Report for Afternoon Storms||Storm Report for Evening Storms|
Tornado Track (click to enlarge)
Click on Damage Photos to enlarge
The first wave moved through at mid afternoon causing wind damage from Schoharie County to the Capital District. At the same time the first severe weather was hitting the area, a well organized mesoscale convective complex was moving across northwest Pennsylvania. It moved east across the southern tier of New York and by early evening approached the Albany forecast area. A well organized line of thunderstorms produced severe weather as into moved into our area. A long-lived supercell developed on the line with straight line wind damage in northern Ulster County. As the storm moved into Greene County an F1 tornado (50 yards wide and a half mile long) touched down in Palenville .
The tornado next touched down in the hamlet of Kiskatom in the town of Catskill. There, the storm damage was rated F2, with a path width of a hundred yards and a length of over one mile. Several houses there were damaged beyond repair, and several house trailers were destroyed. There were also reports of seven people injured - some of them being rescued from the debris of their homes. In Athens there was more damage along the stormís path. It was rated borderline F0/F1, with a path width of 50 yards and a length of a half mile. In Coxsackie F1 damage continued, with a width of about 150 yards and length of about a half mile. With that touchdown, in addition to a wide area of damaged trees, a manufactured home, which was poorly anchored, had been completely moved off itís foundation. That home also had insulation bits pasted to the siding on the downwind side, typical of tornadic damage in the F1 Range. That brought the total discontinuous path length of tornadic damage in Greene County to approximately 17 miles.
Tornadoes were also confirmed in Columbia County following a second day of damage assessment. The National Weather Service indicated an F2 tornado touched down in the extreme northeast end the town of Kinderhook on county route 28b. Several structures sustained significant damage with one barn destroyed. This particular damage path started on Ottoville Road to the south with a rating of F1 at that location. The path length was one and a quarter mile and the width averaged 50 yards. Further south, in the town of Stuyvesant on county route 26a, more evidence of damage from tornadic activity was found. The damage was rated an F0 with a path length of one half mile and a width of 60 yards. Finally, an F0 tornado touched down at Newton Hook in the town of Stuyvesant, across the river from Coxsackie. The discontinuous path was approximately four tenths of a mile in length and approximately 125 yards wide.
In the villages of Kinderhook, Valatie and Niverville there was extensive straight line wind damage, including damage to numerous structures and automobiles. Winds there were estimated in excess of 80 mph. There was extensive damage in Nassau, Rensselaer County, where witnesses saw a tornado touchdown on McClellan Road. The tornado track was three quarters of a mile long, and 75 to 100 yards wide, and the tornado was rated an F1. The remaining damage in the village of Nassau was attributed to downburst winds from the same storm.
The supercell produced another tornado in Bennington County, Vermont, where a damage path beginning in North Pownal, extended over Mount Anthony into the City of Bennington. There was a nearly continuous damage path between 50 and a hundred yards wide and 10.6 miles long. That touchdown track was rated F1 for much of itís length, with a few places where it was an F0. In the town of Bennington, there was also an area where the path widened, and there was likely a downburst associated with the storm in addition to the stripe of tornadic damage.
In summation this one storm produced an observed track of tornadic and straight line wind damage 67.5 miles long between 8:14 PM and 9:30 PM. There was also radar indication of rotation in the storm, and reports of straight line wind damage in Ulster County as early as 7:40 PM. The rotational signature on radar continued on into east central Bennington County until 9:50 PM, even though no surface damage was found beyond North Bennington, Vermont.
During the July 21, 2003, severe weather outbreak across eastern New
York and western New England, 21 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and seven Tornado Warnings were issued by the warning team at WFO Albany, New York.
An F0 tornado produces winds of less than 73 mph, an F1 tornado winds of 73 to 112 mph and an F2 tornado generates winds of 113 to 157 mph.
Of the 28 warnings issued, 20 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and six Tornado Warnings were verified. Tornado touchdowns in Greene County, New York, included an F2 tornado in Catskill, an F1 tornado in Palenville, an F0/F1 tornado in Athens, and an F1 tornado in Coxsackie.
Evidence of an F1 tornado was found in the Village of Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York. Widespread damage across the rest of Rensselaer County and Columbia County, New York, were attributed to straight line winds. In North Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont, significant downburst damage was found, with evidence of F0/F1 tornadic damage. No deaths occurred during this event. The average warning lead time was 34 minutes for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and 14 minutes for the TornadoWarnings. The probability of detection for all events was 0.93 and the
false alarm ration was 0.07.
Afternoon Preliminary Storm Report
0317 PM MIDDLEBURG NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 SCHOHARIE WIRES DOWN 0346 PM LEXINGTON NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 GREENE TREES DOWN 0400 PM SCHENECTADY NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 SCHENECTADY TREES AND WIRES DOWN 0401 PM GUILDERLAND NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 ALBANY TREE DOWN 0411 PM COLONIE NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 ALBANY LARGE TREE LIMB DOWN/ WIRES DOWN 0425 PM CLIFTON PARK NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 SARATOGA TREES DOWN/ WIRES DOWN 0430 PM HUDSON FALLS NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 WASHINGTON WIRES DOWN 0430 PM CAMBRIDGE NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 WASHINGTON WIRES DOWN 0437 PM SCHAGHTICOKE NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 RENSSELAER TREES DOWN 0440 PM PITTSTOWN NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 RENSSELAER TREES DOWN 0441 PM HOOSICK NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 RENSSELAER TREES DOWN
Evening Severe Weather
0705 PM EAST FISHKILL NY 1 INCH HAIL 07/21/03 DUTCHESS 0800 PM COUNTY WIDE NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 ULSTER NUMEROUS TREES/WIRES DOWN COUNTYWIDE 0815 PM COUNTY WIDE NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 DUTCHESS NUMEROUS TREES/WIRES/POWER OUTAGES COUNTY WIDE 0816 PM BETHLEHEM CENTER NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 ALBANY NUMEROUS TREES DOWN 0820 PM ESOPUS NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 ULSTER NUMEROUS TREES DOWN 0823 PM CATSKILL NY TORNADO 07/21/03 GREENE TWO HOUSES DESTROYED BY POSSIBLE TORNADO. PEOPLE TRAPPED INSIDE. 0825 PM HUDSON NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 COLUMBIA NUMEROUS TREES DOWN 0830 PM STOCKPORT NY 1.75 INCH HAIL 07/21/03 COLUMBIA 0858 PM LENOX DALE MA WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 BERKSHIRE NUMEROUS TREES DOWN 0900 PM BETHLEHEM CENTER NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 ALBANY TREES DOWN ON DELAWARE AVE. 0900 PM COUNTY WIDE NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 RENSSELAER NUMEROUS TREES DOWN COUNTY WIDE 0912 PM WEST CORNWALL CT WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 LITCHFIELD TREES AND WIRES DOWN... 0915 PM EASTON NY WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 WASHINGTON TREES DOWN 0930 PM BENNINGTON VT WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 BENNINGTON NUMEROUS TREES/WIRES DOWN POWER POLES DOWN 1000 PM COUNTY WIDE VT WIND DAMAGE 07/21/03 WINDHAM NUMEROUS TREES DOWN
updated July 24, 2003