Possible tornado in Elmira; Governor Cuomo declares state of emergency

Posted at: 07/26/2012 5:34 PM
Updated at: 07/27/2012 12:16 AM

A severe storm ripped through the Elmira area and the southern tier late Thursday afternoon. There has been a report that a tornado touched down in Horseheads.

The Elmira Star Gazette is reporting that emergency crews are responding to numerous calls, including reported fires and downed power lines. Many streets are impassable due to fallen trees and power lines. Power, internet, and phone service are out in much of the area, including at News 10NBC's affiliate in Elmira, WETM. As of 9:30 Thursday night, there were approximately 93,700 customers without power statewide. Utilities are beginning to deploy crews from Western New York and Rochester to the affected areas to assist with restoration. RG&E spokesperson Dan Hucko tells News 10NBC that RG&E is sending as many crews as it can, as well as a helicopter. It will send line crews and wire guards to protect people from live wires. Hucko also says assessors will go through the area and determine the scope of the damage.

WETM reported that firefighters were monitoring a transformer that exploded. The transformer was caught up in a tree and hanging over a house. No one was home at the time of the explosion.

City Of Elmira officials say the city is under a curfew until 8 a.m. Friday in order to limit travel in the city to emergency response vehicles.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Chemung County on Thursday, allowing New York to mobilize state resources to assist local governments more effectively and quickly. If necessary, the state of emergency gives the Governor the authority to suspend statutes, rules and regulations that would impede response and recovery activities. The declaration further gives the Governor the ability to direct state resources to local governments in need.

The American Red Cross is providing food and shelter for storm victims. Red Cross volunteers have opened a shelter at the Elmira Free Academy at 933 Hoffman Street. The shelter can house 100 people. Volunteers went door to door to ensure community members are safe and well. A disaster assessment team is evaluating the area to determine further needs.

There are no reports of any injuries or deaths.

To see more photos of damage, click here.

News10NBC will have updates on News10NBC and on www.whec.com.