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NY sees twister damage

At least four tornado touchdowns were confirmed to have struck south-central New York and southwestern Vermont Monday night.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | CATSKILL, N.Y. | July 23, 2003

At least four tornado touchdowns were confirmed to have struck south-central New York and southwestern Vermont Monday night, injuring at least seven people and destroying several homes, according to said meteorologist Ken Lapenta, with the National Weather Service office in Albany.

The worst damage hit the town of Kiskatom, N.Y., where all seven injuries were reported, said John Farrell, director of the Green County office of emergency preparedness. A woman in her 60s suffered the most serious injury, said Farrell, who said the woman was playing solitaire when her trailer home was destroyed by the tornado. Rescue workers took nearly half hour to pull her from the wreckage.

"She's going to make it," Farrell said, "but she's probably got a month to two months to get back to where she was."

The family living in one of the destroyed homes spent Monday night at the St. Anthony's Friary in Catskill, where the father of the family works as caretaker. By Tuesday night the family had moved into a motel room provided at the expense of the American Red Cross, said Brother Vincent, of the St. Anthony's Friary.

Farrell said most of the tornado damage occurred in Kiskatom. Also hit were the hamlets of Coxsackie and Leeds, as well as the town of Catskill. The tornado that hit Catskill and these surrounding communities registered as an F2 on the Fujita scale, according to Lapenta.

At least two homes were destroyed, and several others were damaged, Farrell said, and three farms in Coxsackie "were completely leveled."

The tornadoes were the product of a supercell storm that moved through New England Monday night, Lapenta said, and the first touchdown was in the town of Palenville, about 10 miles southwest of Catskill. The storm than hit Catskill and surrounding hamlets, then bounced to Rennsylear County, N.Y, and finally hit southwest Vermont, tearing a 10-mile path from North Pownal to Bennington. All three of these touchdowns were measured as F1 storms, Lapenta said.

Lapenta said that straight-line wind damage, responsible for downing tree limbs and knocking out electricity, were also reported through the whole region.

"We had quite a few reports of straight-line wind damage throughout that area," he said. "Just a whole bunch of reports."

According to Farrell, at least 4,900 people in Greene County, N.Y., were without power Tuesday.

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