This was a common scene in western Ontario County after a line of thunderstorms tore through the area Thursday afternoon.

By the time Friday morning arrived, many Finger Lakes-area residents had all but forgotten about the line of thunderstorms that rolled through the region Thursday afternoon — and a tornado watch alert.

That wasn’t the case in western Ontario County, where utility crews and area fire departments were still cleaning up the aftermath. Property owners had their own problems to deal with.

“There was significant damage in Richmond,” said Jeff Harloff, the county’s director of emergency management. “Not only were numerous trees, branches and power lines down, but greenhouses, trampolines and barns were damaged. In some cases, buildings were carried across roads.”

The cause was a line of storms at peak strength in eastern Livingston County and maintaining that intensity into western Ontario County including Richmond, West Bloomfield and East Bloomfield. The result was numerous power outages.

Harloff said while he talked to a Richmond-area resident who reported seeing a tornado, he doesn’t believe that was credible after seeing a line of damage about four miles long and hundreds of yards wide going from southwest to northeast.

“The trees and power lines that went down were all pointing in the same direction,” he said. “All the damage I saw was reported to the National Weather Service, and it appears to be straight-line winds.”

Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero said the county’s 911 center fielded close to 80 calls for trees/limbs down and power lines in roads.

“There was some structural damage in the Honeoye/Bloomfield region, quarter-sized hail and property damage in Farmington, and power was out in the Canandaigua area for about three hours,” he said. “There was general cleanup going on Friday.”

In Seneca County, Melissa Taylor — the county’s director of emergency management — said the storms knocked down some wires in the north end of the county. More than 500 New York State Electric & Gas customers lost power for several hours.

George Bastedo, Wayne County’s director of emergency management, said there were scattered power outages in that county despite numerous lightning strikes.

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike said the county’s 911 dispatchers reported no major damage.

“There was heavy rain and wind in Italy and Middlesex for maybe seven to ten minutes,” he said.

Harloff said there were still about 900 households in western Ontario County without power Friday. He said problem areas were generally Richmond Mills Road and Allen’s Hill, where winds caused a double chimney to topple onto a house.

“There was also a camper thrown into another camper and vehicles,” he said. “In a sad case, a man who lost his house in a fire about a year ago was rebuilding on the same footprint. A wall under construction came down in the storm. There were also reports of roofs blown off buildings and damaged vehicles.”


  • Thunderstorms
  • Tornado Watch
  • Ontario County
  • Jeff Harloff
  • Richmond
  • Melissa Taylor
  • Ron Spike

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