Severe Weather Event
Stillwater and Schaghticoke EF1 Tornadoes
Brief EF0 Tornado in Hartman (Warren - Saratoga County)
85 mph Lake Luzerne Microburst
Saturday August 29, 2020

Photograph of the tornado as it approached the Hoosic Valley school grounds in Schaghticoke
Saturday August 29, 2020 - Photograph contributed by Tommy Clark

The tornado as it approached the Hoosic Valley school grounds in Schaghticoke August 29, 2020

Tornadic supercell thunderstorm track from roughly 2:30 through 7pm Saturday August 29, 2020

Tornadic supercell track between 2:30 and 7pm Saturday August 29, 2020

- 1.5" Hail fell a mile north of Broadalbin at 4:19 pm and 3 miles north of Galway at 4:32 pm
- Straight line winds downed some wires 3 miles southeast of Lake Desolation at 4:42 pm
- A tree was snapped at Jockey Street and Galway Road 2 miles SE of Galway at 4:44 pm
- Brief EF1 Tornado in Stillwater at 5:26 pm
- EF1 Tornado in Schaghticoke from 5:42 to 5:44 pm
- 3/4" diameter hail in Buskirk at 5:55 pm

A supercell thunderstorm tracked from central Herkimer County through Fulton, central and southern Saratoga, northern Rensselaer and southern Bennington counties between 2:30 and 7pm Saturday August 29, 2020 producing a few pockets of minor straight line wind damage, some large hail and two brief EF1 tornadoes as it tracked across the region. Additional thunderstorms lined up along an advancing cold front following the supercell during the late afternoon and evening which produced heavy rainfall and some additional pockets of minor wind damage with a notable 85 mph microburst from a briefly rotating cell within a line segment over Lake Luzerne just before 7pm which also produced a breif EF0 tornado in Hartman. Although most areas did get a thunderstorm, severe weather was overall isolated in this event. The following series of radar images chronicle the development and coverage of the thunderstorms on the 29th. Each image contains the warning polygons issued by the National Weather Service with most storms being warned on this day.

Developing supercell thunderstorm with severe thunderstorm warning in Herkimer and western Fulton counties

Radar and warnings showing the developing supercell over Herkimer County at around 2:42pm Saturday August 29, 2020

Supercell thunderstorm with severe thunderstorm warning in central Fulton and west central Saratoga counties


Radar and warnings showing the supercell in Fulton County at around 3:51pm Saturday August 29, 2020

Supercell thunderstorm with tornado warning in southeast Fulton and western Saratoga counties

Radar and warnings showing the now tornado warned supercell in southeast Fulton County at around 4:18pm Saturday August 29, 2020 
Supercell thunderstorm with severe thunderstorm warning in central Saratoga and Washington counties

Radar and warnings showing the supercell on the southern end of the short line over Saratoga county at around 4:55pm Saturday August 29, 2020

Supercell thunderstorm with tornado warning in central Saratoga and southern Washington counties

Radar and warnings showing tornado warned supercell in central Saratoga County at around 5:12pm Saturday August 29, 2020

Supercell thunderstorm with tornado warning in southeast Saratoga, southern Washington and northern Rensselaer counties
Developing thunderstorms in the Adirondacks, Mohawk valley and western Catskills along a cold front

Radar and warnings showing the tornado warned supercell in southeast Saratoga County at around 5:51pm Saturday August 29, 2020 
Supercell thunderstorm with tornado warning in northern Rensselaer County
Strong thunderstorms in the Adirondacks and western Catskills along a cold front
 

Radar and warnings showing the tornado warned supercell in Rensselaer County at around 6:00pm Saturday August 29, 2020

Supercell thunderstorm with tornado warning in NE Rensselaer and southern Bennington counties
Strong/severe thunderstorms from Warren County into the Mohawk valley, Schoharie and Delaware counties

Radar and warnings showing the weakening tornado warned supercell moving into southern Bennington County, VT at around 6:30pm Saturday August 29, 2020 
Strong and severe thunderstorms in the Capital Region and eastern Catskills
- This was close to the time of the 85 mph microburst in Lake Luzerne

Radar and warnings showing the line of strong and severe thunderstorms at around 7:00pm Saturday August 29, 2020

Strong and severe thunderstorms in Hudson valley and Vermont

Radar and warnings showing lines of severe thunderstorms at around 8:00pm Saturday August 29, 2020 
Thunderstorms moving east of the region

Radar and warnings showing the thunderstorms moving east of the local area by 8:30pm Saturday August 29, 2020

Albany NWS Tornado Report - Stillwater
Albany NWS Tornado Report - Stillwater

Albany NWS Tornado path graphic for the brief Stillwater touchdown

Albany NWS storm survey tornado path graphic 
Albany National Weather Service Report Summary: "An EF1 tornado with maximum winds of 100 mph occurred in the town of Stillwater, NY - Saratoga County at 5:26 pm on Saturday August 29, 2020. Severe damage was done to a mobile home on McDermott Road near the intersection with County Route 75. Several uprooted trees and downed large branches were also noted throughout this area. Witness video showed clear rotation and the tornado. This was a brief touchdown with a path length of approximately 1/4 mile and path width of 50 yards."

Albany NWS Tornado Report - Schaghticoke
Albany NWS Tornado Report - Schaghticoke

Albany NWS Tornado path graphic for the Schaghticoke Tornado
Albany NWS storm survey tornado path graphic

Albany National Weather Service Report Summary: "An EF1 tornado with maximum winds of 110 mph occurred in the town of Schaghticoke, NY Rensselaer County from 5:42 to 5:44pm on Saturday August 29, 2020. Significant damage was done to the roof of a house on Verbeck Avenue, and a shed in the backyard of the house was destroyed. Several large trees were uprooted near the house. Farther to the southeast, several trees were downed near a cemetery near the intersection of Routes 40 and 67. Minor damage was also done to the roof of a high school and elementary school in this area."

Albany NWS Lake Luzerne Microburst Report
Albany NWS Severe T'Storm Report - Lake Luzerne

Albany National Weather Service Report Summary: "A microburst occurred in Lake Luzerne on East River Drive at 6:57pm Saturday August 29, 2020. Trees were uprooted and down on a house. This is where most of the damage occurred. There were also a couple of snapped trees." A funnel cloud was reported at about the same time of the microburst indicating some brief rotation in the thunderstorm but no tornado touchdown occurred.

SET-UP

This was a classic high shear, moderate CAPE (convective available potential energy) set-up with enhanced low level turning of the wind in the warm sector of a passing low pressure system coupled with strong mid level winds of 45-50 knots associated with an inbound upper level trough which together set up an environment over eastern New York and western New England that favored any discrete convection to rotate, becoming supercells.

The forecast was, however, complex due to widespread cloud cover and showers through the morning which initially limited instability. However, with the passage of the warm front and a period of sunshine developing from the late morning into the afternoon allowed temperatures to warm into the upper 70s to around 80°. Dewpoints subsequently climbed to 70° which helped to increase the instability with mixed layer CAPE estimated to have ranged from 500 to 1500 J/kg. The surface map late in the afternoon showed eastern New York and western New England squarely in a warm sector with modest lapse rates. Forcing due to the approaching cold front was sufficient to trigger initial scattered thunderstorms over central New York early in the afternoon with a supercell becoming dominant tracking across Herkimer and Fulton counties into central Saratoga, northern Rensselaer and southern Bennington counties. That supercell was the storm responsible for much of the severe weather during the day along its narrow path including the two tornadoes. The storm did not tornado until it moved into a favorable low level convergent zone where the Mohawk and Hudson river valleys merge with that extra turning of the wind in that area likely contributing to the mid level circulation in the supercell briefly reaching the ground in Stillwater and Schaghticoke as tornado touchdowns. Research has shown that our local terrain does play a critical role in tornado development especially in the north south valleys.

Additional thunderstorms, more linear in nature, lined up along the cold front sweeping from west to east across the region through the early evening with a few additional reports of severe weather, the most notable, the localized microburst in Lake Luzerne, which was caused by a brief circulation in the thunderstorm cell. Overall, the event was small in scale (only 16 severe weather reports) with most areas across the region not experiencing any severe weather at all.

Surface Map around 6:45pm Saturday August 29, 2020
Storm Prediction Center Mesoscale Analysis, late afternoon August 29, 2020

NWS Storm Reports for Saturday August 29, 2020. Note, these reports are used to verify the NWS warnings which were issued for this event and therefore do not necessarily represent an accounting for all of the severe weather which may have occurred.

Town County Severe Weather Report Time
1 Mile N. of Broadalbin Fulton Measured 1.5" diameter hail 4:19pm
3 Miles N. of Galway Saratoga Measured 1.5" diameter hail 4:32pm
3 Miles SE of Lake Desolation Saratoga Wind Damage: Wires blown down on Boyhaven Road 4:42pm
2 Miles E. of Galway Saratoga Wind Damage: One foot diameter tree snapped at Jockey Street and Galway Road 4:44pm
Stillwater Saratoga Brief EF1 Tornado 5:26pm
Schaghticoke Rensselaer EF1 Tornado 5:42-5:44pm
Buskirk Rensselaer 3/4" diameter hail 5:55pm
Jefferson Schoharie Wind Damage: Tree blown down on Router 10 6:30pm
Laurens Otsego Wind Damage: Trees blown down across Winnie Hill Rd 6:38pm
Hague Warren Wind Damage: Wires blown down 6:45pm
Hartman Warren EF0 Tornado (85 mph winds) Video of a funnel kicking up the water on the Hudson river just southwest of the intersection of Beach Drive and Pleasant View Road. The tornado moved NE and crossed East River Drive before ending. A dozen trees were uprooted and snapped. One homeowner reported an outdoor canopy destroyed and lawn furniture scattered 6:56pm
Lake Luzerne Warren Funnel Cloud - 85 mph microburst, trees down on a house 6:57pm
Stamford Delaware Wind Damage: Trees blown down across highway 10 6:57pm
Schenectady Schenectady Wind Damage: Trees and wires blown down, minor street flooding 7:00pm
Lexington Greene Wind Damage: Tree blown down 7:10pm
Sudbury, VT Rutland Wind Damage: Tree down on Route 30 7:15pm

 

Cumulative Storm Reports For Saturday August 29, 2020

Storm Prediction Center Storm Reports For August 29, 2020 

Damage in Stillwater - Saratoga County - Photograph by CBS6 Reporter Briana Supardi

Stillwater Damage - August 29, 2020  

Stillwater Damage - August 29, 2020