(10:25 PM) With Hail And Lightning, Impressive Storm Strikes County

Photo by Steve Tooley

Steve Tooley said he happened to walk outside Sunday evening when he caught sight of a massive storm rolling across northern Chautauqua County.

Tooley, who was on Pearl Street in Forestville, took a few photographs of the storm before a downdraft brought air rushing to the ground. In a video posted to Facebook, he captures the moment the downdraft hit.

The Forestville man figured he was witnessing a tornado appear in front of him.

“I couldn’t believe when it formed,” Tooley told The Post-Journal. “The thing I first noticed when it started to form, the wind was coming from my back into the storm.”

Photo by Alese Kircher

Tooley said he didn’t plan on being home Sunday night, but a vehicle breakdown forced him to stay in Forestville. He posted the video to social media and watched as it soon became viral.

“I’ve had over a hundred friend requests (on Facebook) in the past hour,” Tooley said.

The northeast-moving storm brought with it an impressive lightning display. Large pieces of hail also fell in the Ripley and Westfield areas.

Alese Kircher, who was in Westfield when the storm hit, said the hail was the largest she had ever seen. “Never in my life,” she said. “It was very intense.”

Shortly before the storm struck the Southern Tier, the National Weather Service in Buffalo issued a tornado watch and severe thunderstorm warning. Both expired by 10 p.m.