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July 29, 2009 Severe Thunderstorms

Tornado Confirmed Near Tunhannock In Wyoming County Pennsylvania

The information in this statement is preliminary and subject to change pending final review of the event(s) and publication in NWS Storm Data.
  • Location...Tunhannock In Wyoming County Pennsylvania
  • Date...7/29/2009
  • Estimated Time...1:18 PM
  • Maximum EF-Scale Rating...EF-0
  • Estimated Maximum Wind Speed...75 mph
  • Maximum Path Width...45 yards
  • Path Length...262 yards
  • Beginning Lat/Lon...41.51114/-75.95732
  • Ending Lat/Lon...41.512500/-75.955263
  • Fatalities...0
  • Injuries...0

The National Weather service in Binghamton, NY has confirmed a tornado near Tunhannock in Wyoming County Pennsylvania on 7/29/2009.

The tornado first touched down behind a house on Jurista Hill road. The first signs of damage were to the top quarter of a pine tree which was twisted and bent over the tree itself. Continuing on a northeasterly direction, one large tree was uprooted with one smaller tree snapped. Another large tree was uprooted along with a 8 foot by 16 foot wooden shed rolled over for 30 yards. More tree branches were broken before the tornado moved toward a corn field, doing more damage to a barn. After minor damage to small areas of the corn field, more trees were snapped and uprooted before the tornado lifted. The overall pattern of the damage was convergent, with the two largest trees uprooted pointing in different directions. This is suggestive of damage due to a tornado and not straight line winds.

It should be noted that the ground was very wet due to heavy rain, and this is why winds were estimated at the lower end of the EF scale. In addition the tornado passed right next to a two story house with only a small section of the metal roof showing signs of uplifting.

Below are images from the storm survey. Click on an image for a larger view.

Damage to farm.
Large tree down on shed next to house. This occurred on a farm on Jurista Hill road near Tunhannock, PA.
Damage to farm.
This image shows the path that the wooden shed took through some trees. This occurred on a farm on Jurista Hill road near Tunhannock, PA.
Damage to farm.
Shows the marks produced by the shed as it rolled. This occurred on a farm on Jurista Hill road near Tunhannock, PA.
Damage to farm.
EMA Director Gene Dziak stands next to a downed tree. View is toward the northeast. This occurred on a farm on Jurista Hill road near Tunhannock, PA.

This is a panoramic view of most of the damage at the farm. The view is looking from approximately southwest (left) to northwest (right).

  • Location...Tunkhannock In Wyoming County Pennsylvania
  • Date...7/29/2009
  • Estimated Time...1:22 PM
  • Maximum EF-Scale Rating...EF-0
  • Estimated Maximum Wind Speed...65 mph
  • Maximum Path Width...65 yards
  • Yards Path Length...442 yards
  • Beginning Lat/Lon...41.523170/-75.948492
  • Ending Lat/Lon...41.525596/-75.945192
  • Fatalities...0
  • Injuries...0

The second confirmed touchdown of the tornado was at the Skyhaven Airport in Tunhannock. The first signs of damage were to a metal roof which was peeled away from a farm outbuilding. Pieces of this metal roof were moved in a northeasterly direction for over 400 yards. Limited damage to trees, mainly consisting of downed branches, most of which were small. It was difficult to determine the direction of the debris given that the debris was mainly the metal roof. Toward the edge of the airport, corn stalks were blown toward the northeast. Meanwhile on the other side of a grove of pine trees, pieces of the metal roof were blown back toward the west and southwest. These pieces of metal were not blown through the trees and instead were blown back toward them. The tornado continued northeast to the edge of the runway before lifting up. Pieces of the metal roof were deposited in an adjacent field, with one single piece of the roof ending up toward the emergency operations center, 1.21 miles from the building from which it was peeled.

The compelling evidence in the determination of a tornado versus straight line winds were the eyewitness accounts of 4 different people, 2 of which were pilots. In addition, the placement and orientation of the metal roof on the opposite side of the groove of pine trees with no evidence of it going through them. Lastly the debris of the metal roof was found more than a mile from farm outbuilding, suggesting it had remained aloft for awhile.

Damage at the Skyhaven Airport
Part of roof off cow barn.
Damage at the Skyhaven Airport
Roof debris from cow barn in tree and on ground about This just over a quarter of a mile away from the barn.
Damage at the Skyhaven Airport
Other side of cow barn.

For Reference
  • EF0...Wind Speeds 65 To 85 mph.
  • EF1...Wind Speeds 86 To 110 mph.
  • EF2...Wind Speeds 111 To 135 mph.
  • EF3...Wind Speeds 136 To 165 mph.
  • EF4...Wind Speeds 166 To 200 mph.
  • EF5...Wind Speeds Greater than 200 mph.
The National Weather Service Binghamton extends their appreciation to the Wyoming County Emergency Management Agency for their help in conducting the storm survey.

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Page last modified: July 31, 2009