Severe Weather Outbreak - Friday May 29, 2020
EF1 Tornado from Lake Luzerne to Glens Falls (75-110 mph Winds) 5:52pm-6:05pm

Wind Damage in Schenectady - Friday May 29, 2020: Photograph provided by Richard S. Zazycki

Wind damage in Schenectady - Friday May 29, 2020

Pronounced Shelf Cloud coming over the City of Schenectady - Friday May 29, 2020

Shelf cloud going over Schenectady, Friday May 20, 2020

This radar image shows a severe thunderstorm over Schenectady at approximately 6:30pm. This was the second severe thunderstorm to track through Schenectady County with the first just missing Schenectady to the north. The shelf cloud image above is from the first storm. The cell in this radar image was responsible for wind damage in both Schenectady and Niskayuna including the shot above of the tree into a house..

Radar view at approximately 6:30pm showing severe t'storms over Schenectady and Saratoga Counties

Severe thunderstorms broke out across eastern New York, focusing along a pre-cold frontal trough during the mid to late afternoon in what was a hot, humid, and unstable atmosphere characterized by surface temperatures in the mid to upper 80s, dewpoints in the upper 60s to around 70° and CAPE (convective available potential energy on the order of 1500-2000 J/kg. 35-40 knots of bulk wind shear with good low level turning of the wind from southerly to southwesterly with height in especially the north south valleys was sufficient for storm organization favoring multicell severe and a few supercell structures. Mid level lapse rates, however, were not great, meaning the atmosphere aloft was pretty warm which is a factor that inhibits rapid upward motion of updrafts and generally results in less intense storms. However, the other favorable parameters that were present along with the peak heating and thus peak instability coinciding with an increase in the wind shear during the late afternoon and early evening in the end was sufficient to compensate for the so so lapse rates allowing severe thunderstorms to develop. The Storm Prediction Center issued a severe thunderstorms watch for all of eastern New York and Rutland County VT (locally) at 2:30pm with the watch expiring at 9pm with Bennington County added at 6:30pm.

The main axis of severe weather stretched from Otsego and northern Delaware counties through Schoharie County, the Mohawk valley to Fulton, Schenectady, Saratoga, southern Warren, Washington, Rutland, Bennington, and northern Rensselaer counties from about 3pm through 8:30pm with only scattered late night showers (no severe weather) across the eastern Catskills, mid Hudson valley, and Berkshire County. A swath of significant wind damage stretched from northern Saratoga through southern Warren, northern and central Washington and Rutland counties where multiple severe storms tracked including a supercell that produced and EF1 tornado from 5:52pm to 6:05pm from Lake Luzerne to Glens Falls.

Zone of most widespread wind damage on Friday May 29, 2020


An initial cluster of scattered severe thunderstorms produced a few pockets of wind damage between 3 and 4pm over southern Warren, Washington and Rensselaer counties. The main event, however, came a little later in the day, closer to 5pm, when clusters of severe thunderstorms developed along the pre-frontal trough and then intensified as they hit the very hot, humid, unstable and highly sheared air mass across eastern New York. The radar image below at approximately 5:07pm showed the clusters of storms west of the Capital Region in the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys and northwest Saratoga County. These storms exhibited broadly rotating updrafts which sustained the storms and effectively mixed down localized damaging downburst type winds. Frequent cloud to ground lightning also occurred but little hail due largely to how warm the atmosphere was at the time.

Radar showing clusters of severe thunderstorms stretching from Schoharie County through eastern Montgomery, eastern Fulton and NW Saratoga counties

Thunderstorms over northern Saratoga County rapidly intensified after 5:30pm with one cell just southwest of Lake Luzerne becoming a supercell with a tight rotation couplet developing. The Albany National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at approximately 5:44pm for northeast Saratoga and southern Warren counties for the cell which was moving Northeast at around 40 mph. The storm produced a tornado in Lake Luzerne at 5:52pm.

Radar showing the tornado warned storm over NE Saratoga County at 5:44pm

Storm relative velocity radar image from the Albany Doppler Radar (ENX) lowest tilt at approximately 5:47pm Friday May 20, 2020. A strong rotational couplet was indicated near and just northwest of Corinth and SW of Lake Luzerne.

Albany Doppler radar storm relative velocity, approximately 5:46pm Friday May 29, 2020
Albany Doppler Radar Reflectivity at approximately 6pm Friday May 29, 2020. The circulation was embedded within the heavy rain area with the tornado rain wrapped and not visible as it tracked from Lake Luzerne on an 8.6 mile path lifting in Glens Falls. The storm continued on through north central Washington County into Rutland County producing straight line wind damage along its path with the mid level circulation continuing after the low level tornado circulation weakened and lifted.

Albany Doppler radar reflectivity, approximately 6pm Friday May 29, 2020 

Albany National Weather Service Tornado Report:

A team from the Albany National weather service office investigated the damage from the storm on Saturday May 30, 2020 and determined the following:

"The tornado touched down near the Hudson river close to Hawk Road south of Call Street. It moved in a general northeast direction crossing Hawk Road, Call Street and both ends of Hartman Loop, before continuing along Corinth Road. The tornado continued northeast crossing I-87 at Exit 18 where it uprooted trees in the nearby cemetery. The tornado ended in Glens Falls near the Queensbury hotel. Damage was observed to be most extensive west of the I-87 along Hawk Road, Call Street, Corinth Road and Hartman Loop eastward to the subdivision on Hudson Point Boulevard where numerous hardwood and softwood trees were sheared off and uprooted along the path. One home on Hartman Loop had damage to its roof. East of I-87, damage was generally less severe, mainly downed tree limbs and branches."

Albany NWS Tornado Report

Albany National Weather Service tornado path graphic

Albany NWS storm survey tornado path graphic 

Tornado damage on Call Street in Lake Luzerne - Friday May 29, 2020 - Photograph provided by Jason Andrew

Tornado damage on Call Street Friday May 29, 2020

Tornado damage on Call Street in Lake Luzerne - Friday May 29, 2020 - Photograph provided by Jason Andrew

Tornado damage on Call Street Friday May 29, 2020

NWS Storm Reports for Friday May 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
Glens Falls Warren Wind Damage: Trees down on wires 2:50pm
Granville Washington Wind Damage: Trees and power lines blown down 3:31pm
South Poultney, VT Rutland Wind Damage: Many trees reported to have been blown down with power outages 3:38pm
Wynantskill Rensselaer Wind Damage: Route 136 between Meadow Drive and Orchard Lane closed due to downed wires 3:50pm
West Oneonta Otsego Wind Damage: Wires Blown Down 4:06pm
Johnstown Fulton Wind Damage: Trees and wires blown down 5:05pm
Summit Schoharie Wind Damage: Large tree limb blocking State Route 10 5:05pm
Johnstown Fulton Wind Damage: Trees and wires blown down 5:07pm
Greenfield Center Saratoga Wind Damage: Trees and wires blown down 5:36pm
1 Mile S of Wolf Hollow Delaware Wind Damage: Tree blown down onto a house 5:32pm
2 Miles ENE of Corinth Warren Wind Damage: Tree and wires on vehicle on Call Street. 5:40pm
Porter Corners Saratoga Wind Damage: Large tree down on Coy Road 5:54pm
Lake Luzerne to Glens Falls Warren EF1 Tornado: Winds 75-110 mph, 8.6 mile path 5:52pm to 6:05pm
Corinth Saratoga Wind Damage: Tree blown down on Gabriel Road 5:55pm
3 Miles WNW of Moreau Warren Wind Damage: Tree blown down onto a house 5:59pm
Rock City Falls Saratoga Wind Damage: Trees and wires blown down 6:03pm
1 Mile NW of Hudson Falls Warren Wind Damage: Tree blocking roadway at Dix and Quarry crossing. 6:08pm
1 Mile N of Hudson Falls Washington Wind Damage: Tree and wires down on Dean Road 6:10pm
Kingsbury Washington Wind Damage: Tree blocking roadway at Vaughn Road and Underwood Road 6:14pm
Wilton Saratoga Wind Damage: Tree limbs down on Corinth Mountain Road 6:15pm
Glens Falls Warren Wind Damage: Tree down next to the Glens Falls Hospital 6:18pm
West Glens Falls Warren Wind Damage: I-87 closed in both directions due to downed trees and power lines between exits 17 and 19 6:18pm
Rotterdam Schenectady Wind Damage: Tree blown down on a house 6:18pm
Fort Ann Washington Wind Damage: Poles blown down near South Bay Road and West Road 6:20pm
Niskayuna Schenectady Wind Damage: Large tree limb down on Corner of Lenox Road and Raymond Street 6:22pm
West Glens Falls Warren Main Street in Queensbury closed due to downed wires 6:22pm
4 Miles NE of Fort Ann Washington Wind Damage: Tree down on NY 22 southbound at Quarry Road 6:22pm
3 Miles WSW of Hartford Washington Wind Damage: An approximately 12" diameter tree broken at the bottom blocking and temporarily closing State Route 149 6:24pm
2 Miles SSW of Scotia Schenectady Wind Damage: Tree blown down on wires and a fence on Sandra Lane 6:27pm
Niskayuna Schenectady Wind Damage: Tree branches blown don 6:30pm
Poultney, VT Rutland Wind Damage: More trees blown down throughout town, additional power outages 6:37pm
5 Miles NE of Greenwich Washington Wind Damage: Downed tree on NY 29 7:18pm
1 Mile SW of Buskirk Rensselaer Wind Damage: Down tree on NY Route 67 8:18pm

 

Cumulative Storm Reports For Friday May 29, 2020

Storm Prediction Center Storm Reports For May 29, 2020 


Shelf cloud passing over Delanson, Schenectady County - Friday May 29, 2020
Photograph provided by Jake Reed

Shelf cloud near Delanson Friday May 29, 2020  


Shelf cloud and cloud to ground lightning strike over SPAC in Saratoga Springs - Friday May 29, 2020
Photograph provided by Todd Helms


Shelf cloud and cloud to ground lightning strike over SPAC Saratoga County Friday May 29, 2020