Mottville, New York F1 Tornado
July 28, 2002


A severe thunderstorm moved southeast across central New York during the early evening on July 28, 2002.  The storm produced scattered tree damage along its entire path from western Onondaga county southeast across Cortland county.  Along most of that patch, the damage was indicative of straight-line winds, with gusts of 50 to 70 mph from the northwest. However, a brief tornado touchdown occurred with the storm in the small town of Mottville, where the most severe damage occurred.  The tornado touchdown occurred at approximately 6:40 pm in the center of town, where a trailer house was completely destroyed and several large trees were sheared off 10 to 20 feet off of the ground.   The trees fell in a swirling pattern, indicating that the cause of the damage was most likely a small tornado.  Based on the damage, the tornado was estimated as an F1, with top winds of 73 to 112 mph.  The tornado’s path length was 100 yards, and its path width was approximately 50 yards.

Damage map

The tornado touched down in Mottville, where the 3 blue triangles are located.  Scattered wind damage continued farther south, into the town of Skaneateles, at the bottom of the map. A strong downburst wind damage pattern was found in a wooded area just north of the Elementary school, where the single blue triangle is located.



Tree damage

A large tree sheared off just south of downtown Skaneateles.


Straight line wind damage

Straight-line wind damage in the woods north of Skaneateles.


trailer damage

Damage to a house trailer in the town of Mottville, a few miles north of Skaneateles.

Tree damage

Tree damage in the town of Mottville.

tornado damage

More damage in the town of Mottville. 

Radar imagery from the WSR-88D radar in Binghamton, New York indicated strong rotation with this storm moments before it hit southwest Onondaga county.  Below are some radar images from the storm when it was over southwest Onondaga county.

radar imagery

radar imagery