OLEAN — The Twin Tiers took a pounding from rain and wind Tuesday afternoon, with officials declaring tornadoes were a possibility.
At just after 2 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch in 16 counties in New York, including Allegany and Cattaraugus counties as thunderstorms led a cold front into the region.
A hazardous weather outlook was also issued, citing thunderstorms and heavy rain through the afternoon.
A tornado warning was issued at 2:12 p.m. for northeastern Allegany County and southeastern Livingston County, lasting until 2:45 p.m. Radar reports of the storm indicated the storm showed rotation, a possible sign of tornadoes.
It was the second such tornado warning for Allegany County this summer, with the first on July 20. A small tornado was reported that day in Angelica.
Steve Welch, a meteorologist with the Buffalo office, told the Olean Times Herald that no tornadoes had been reported in the Southern Tier from Tuesday’s storm, but the service was waiting on local reviews of storm damage before making a determination.
“We’ve got several reports of thunderstorm wind damage in Cattaraugus County, mostly trees down,” he said, with reports coming in from Randolph, Cattaraugus, Ellicottville and Machias.
The total rainfall for Olean on Tuesday was not available by press time.
Wind gusts up to 52 mph were reported in East Randolph, Welch said, and most weather stations in the county reported between 45 and 50 mph gusts.
“There could be higher gusts in between those locations,” he said.
The wind was a bit less in Allegany County, with the Wellsville Municipal Airport reporting a gust of 41 mph.
The tornado watch was canceled before 6 p.m. for Allegany and Cattaraugus counties, but was continued in McKean and Potter counties south of the border.
There is a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain this evening in Olean, Welch said, but the rest of the week looks clear.
“The big story is going to be the cooldown,” Welch said, adding the cold front will leave the area with temperatures in the 60s today through Saturday, with Sunday through Tuesday seeing temperatures in the 70s.