Generally speaking, tornadoes aren't a common occurrence in New York state. Lately in Central New York they feel common, but overall, they really aren't that common.

Tornados do still happen. With that, we have seen a few major tornadoes in New York since the 1970s. New York state has been pretty lucky on the fact that it has never seen an EF5 tornado. An EF5 is the strongest and most violent tornadoes, with wind speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. New York has seen a few F4 tornadoes, however.

***You'll notice we went from using the EF scale to the F scale for these tornado ratings. This is because of the year the F4 tornadoes hit New York. The EF Scale was introduced in 2007 and changed the wind speed and damage associated with tornadoes. According to the original F Scale, an F4 tornado had wind speeds between 207 and 260 miles per hour. On the new EF Scale, an EF4 tornado has wind speeds between 166 and 200 miles per hour. Both scales categorize the amount of damage the same, with an EF4 or F4 tornado being able to pick up and throw cars, to completely destroy well-built homes, and to turn pieces of debris into flying missiles.

New York has been hit with three F4 tornadoes, according to the data collected by NY Data Bases. This data runs from 1950 through 2021.

Here's a look at some of the strongest storms:

Strongest Tornados To Ever Touch Down In New York State

Generally speaking, tornadoes aren't a common occurrence in New York state. Tornados do still happen. Here's a look at some of the strongest storms:

Tropical Storm Fred Floods Yards, Homes, Roads All Across Central New York

Tropical Storm Fred dumped several inches of rain all across Central New York, flooding yards, homes and roads.

Tropical Storm Fred Floods Fort Rickey

Tropical Storm Fred left Fort Rickey under several feet of water. Thankfully the animals are all safe.

That list again:

The first recorded F4 tornado to hit our state happened on August 28, 1973 at 11:34AM. It touched down southeast of Albany in Canaan (in Columbia County) and traveled south, southeast, crossed over into Massachusetts and later dissipated. Four people were killed from this storm, and another 36 were injured.

The second tornado on the list happened on May 31st, 1985 at 3:25PM. This tornado actually started in Erie County, Pennsylvania and crossed state lines into New York. It finally made it's way into New York around 3:55PM. This storm wasn't as devastating for our state as the first one was. No injuries were reported, and no deaths.

This F4 tornado touched down at 11:27AM on July 10th, 1989 southeast of Canajoharie, just outside of Mapletown. This is the only F4 tornado on the list that was completely in New York, and it's the one that traveled the furthest with a distance of 42 miles. This tornado traveled through Montgomery, Schoharie, Albany, and Greene Counties before it finally dissipated. This storm caused no deaths, but 20 people were reportedly injured.

On the evening of May 31st, 1985, a devastating and deadly tornado outbreak struck the Northeastern United States and Canada. 43 tornadoes tore across Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario.  This event was the deadliest tornado outbreak of the 1980's; killing 89 people in total, injuring more than 1,000 others, and racking up more than $600 million in property damage. In New York this hit right near Jamestown New York

Items You Might Want in a Storm

This is not a collection of things you should have in a storm, it is a list of things you might want in a storm. The Hudson Valley is known for it share of powerful storms. Having the right safety items is important but you also have to make sure you have the fun stuff too.