NARROWSBURG, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Tuesday’s storm blew through quickly, but it left behind destruction that will take quite some time to repair.
Home and business owners are still surveying the damage after the fierce winds toppled trees onto buildings and vehicles. In some cases, roofs were torn right off.
And in Putnam County, confirmed tornado touchdown in Kent and Patterson.
Then there were the storm survival stories, like the one CBS2’s Tony Aiello heard on Wednesday.
“I’m gonna… I’m gonna die here. I’m gonna die here because all it has to do is catch on fire, and I’m done. I’m done,” Charlie Hoffman said.
The fear came flooding back as Hoffman told Aiello about his three hours trapped inside his SUV on Tuesday night.
“I could see trees being snapped this way. I stopped,” Hoffman said. “All these trees are just twisted and snapped spiral.”
It happened on Route 23 in Sullivan County. A funnel cloud spawned by a thunderstorm snapped trees and downed power lines — right onto Hoffman’s SUV.
As a science teacher and veteran CBS2 weather watcher, Hoffman said he knew the dangers.
“The water and the rain … the electricity was electrifying the water underneath me and the car and the best place I could stay was inside the car, because it’s insulated,” Hoffman said.
Indeed. Experts say if falling wires trap you in your car, stay inside until competent help arrives.
But what if your car catches on fire?
The best advice is open the door, but don’t step out. Make sure you jump completely free of the vehicle with both feet together to avoid simultaneous contact with the car and the ground.
Hoffman said he is grateful his car didn’t catch fire, but admitted the wait for help was excruciating.
“They couldn’t get anybody to me because the roads were so blocked,” he said.
Finally, a volunteer firefighter helped Hoffman safely back his vehicle away from the wires. he then dutifully checked in with CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn and Dana Tyler during Tuesday night’s broadcast.
Our weather watcher said he hopes to never again watch weather like that.
Hoffman has lived in Sullivan County for 35 years. After many experiences with bad weather, and now this, he’s contemplating retirement soon and relocation to a more temperate climate.