Where in New York State Are You Most Likely To Be Hit By a Tornado?
While flash floods and blizzards may be more associated with New York State when it comes to natural disasters, tornadoes can happen too. In fact, there were a reported 13 tornadoes in New York state in one day on May 31, 1998, according to The Post Standard. To this day, that holds the record for most tornado activity in recorded state history
But we've had quite other active days for severe weather, including more recent years.
A storm system in early August 2023 spawned six tornadoes across the area, including New York's most powerful tornado in almost a decade.
But how likely are you getting struck by a tornado while living in New York? Where in New York are tornadoes most prevalent?
Where Parts of New York State Gets the Most Tornadoes?
The website Stacker used data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information to find the counties in New York that have experienced the most tornadoes since 2000. While tornadoes have been recorded for years before tha by meteorologists, forecast accuracy has greatly increased since the 1990s, according to WETM.
LOOK: Counties with the most tornadoes in New York
What's the Most Powerful Tornado to Ever Hit NY?
There have been three recorded F4s that have touched down in New York state, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. The first happened on August 28, 1973 in Columbia County over mostly open land, before moving into Massachusetts. Another F4 first touched down near Erie, Pennsylvania May 31, 1985, and then moved over the state line into New York. This was part of deadly outbreak of tornadoes that hit NY, PA, OH, and Ontario that same day.
The third was a nearly mile-wide tornado that touched down in Montgomery County on July 10, 1989. The storm would stay on the ground for 42 miles, traveling four counties (Greene, Montgomery, Schoharie, and Albany Counties).
You also have to consider that many of these weather records generally only go back to the late 1800s, so there is no telling how many storms hit before those times.
Other Tornadoes of Note
- EF-2 July 8, 2014, in Madison County killed 4 people.
- EF-2 hit Brooklyn on August 8, 2007, causing heavy damage and would become the costliest tornado to ever hit New York City.
- An F3 that traveled through Mechanicville, Stillwater, and then on to Vermont on May 31, 1998. Also, an F3 went through Binghamton that same day.
- EF-2 Westchester County and Connecticut tornado July 6, 2006.
- EF-2 Brooklyn tornado September 16, 2010
- Two F3s - North of Syracuse May 2, 1983
- EF-3 tornado, August 7, 2023 that moved from West Leyden through Turin in Lewis County with winds reaching 140 MPH. ***