Fulton County Office of Emergency Management Director Steven Santa Maria in a press release on Thursday announced the National Weather Service’s finding that a category EF1 tornado touched down in Johnstown on Wednesday afternoon at approximately 2:24 p.m.
The path of the tornado was estimated to span 150 yards wide while producing winds at a maximum speed of 85 mph. The tornado traveled roughly half a mile causing minor damage to homes tearing off roof shingles, destroying multiple sheds and pulling down several trees. No injuries were reported as a result of the tornado.
The National Weather Service confirmed the weather event was a tornado after reviewing photos documenting the path of damage provided by the Fulton County Office of Emergency Management consistent with the damage caused by a tornado.
The path of damage from the tornado started at Earl Road and continued across Route 29 before crossing O’Neil Avenue and proceeding onto Pleasant Avenue before ending on or near Irving Street.
Just minutes after the tornado apparently struck at 2:24 p.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Fulton County at 2:26 p.m. that elapsed at 3 p.m. stating that a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado passed over Johnstown with radar indicating rotation.
Before the weather service confirmed Wednesday’s weather event was a tornado on Thursday, Santa Maria said that the federal agency has been advising emergency management offices that severe weather has become and will continue to be increasingly common across the country.
Wednesday’s tornado is not the first to touch down in Fulton County in recent years. In 2017 a tornado with a path of approximately 50 yards touched down on County Highway 107 in Broadalbin and traveled eastward for roughly a quarter of a mile with an estimated maximum wind speed of 90 mph. No injuries were reported as a result of the tornado that caused widespread damage to structures, trees, fencing and yard furniture.
With severe weather events on the rise locally, Santa Maria reminded residents to monitor the local weather forecast and announcements from area officials to stay informed of any impending storms. He also suggested that residents maintain a supply of 72 hours worth of non-perishable food, water and needed medications in case of power outages.
In the event of a tornado, Santa Maria said residents should seek shelter, preferably in a basement or in the lowest area of the building away from windows and doors.
Tips on how to prepare for and react to a variety of emergency and weather related events can be found online at fultoncountyny.gov/emergency-management and on the Fulton County EMO app.