Quite The Show

Impressive Storm Brings Lightning, Hail To Region

An impressive downdraft captured by Forestville resident Steve Tooley on Sunday evening. Tooley said he was stunned to see the storm roll past as it did, bringing with it a lightning display and hail. “I couldn’t believe when it formed,” he said. 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 captured 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 on social media and watched as it soon went viral on the internet.

“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.”

Downed trees and wires were reported throughout the region, including in Warren and Cattaraugus counties. Warren police closed a portion of Conewango Avenue in the city for multiple hazards, while Route 353 was closed in Little Valley in Cattaraugus County for emergency utility repairs.

Photo by Steve Tooley

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

Follow Eric Tichy at twitter.com/erictichy