Gov. Cuomo Declares State Of Emergency In 4 Upstate Counties, More Than 100,000 Residents Without Power

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Putnam County was hit by a pair of tornadoes on Tuesday night, fairly strong ones, too.

That was the determination of the National Weather Service after it surveyed storm damage on Wednesday and its preliminary investigation found that an EF2 tornado sporting winds of 110 mph touched down and then cut a 100-yard path in the town of Kent.

A smaller twister, with top wind speeds of 100 mph, hit the town Patterson, the NWS confirmed.

The NWS also reported late Wednesday a third tornado, with wind speeds of 85 mph, touched down in Newburgh, Orange County.

Putnam and Orange were two of four upstate counties to have a state of emergency declared by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joining Dutchess and Sullivan. Tuesday’s severe storm ripped through a big part of the Tri-State Area, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

At a Wednesday morning news conference in Putnam Valley, Cuomo said he was “deploying members of the New York National Guard to assist with recovery operations.”

“The severe thunderstorms were very, very bad,” the governor said, adding that about 200,000 people lost power during the storm.

In Orange County, police said at 11-year-old girl was killed when the car she was in was crushed by a tree on Robinson Avenue in Newburgh.

The girl had just gotten home with her mother and the car was parked in the driveway when the tree toppled over. Relatives were stunned.

“I am a little in shock,” one relative told CBS2. “They’re part of our family.”

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A tree fell on a car in Newburgh, NY on May 15, 2018. (credit: CBS2)

There was a similar accident just north of that area, where a woman was killed inside a car when a tree came down.

“The worst situation is loss of life and we had that in this situation. We lost two lives,” Cuomo said. “That is just a painful, painful situation.”

Marine Master Sergeant Griggsby Cowart drove home in his smashed up truck Tuesday night after a tree uprooted by the storm topped over as he was driving by in New Windsor.

“I was doing probably 30 or 40 miles an hour through the intersection and it smashed it and hit right above me and drug all the way back down,” he said.

The wind was pounding and the wind was so powerful, Cowart believed he was being chased by one of mother nature’s most powerful forces.

“I went from not even needing my wipers to a complete downpour, sideways downpour, debris, wind,” he said. “I thought for sure there was a tornado barking at my back door.”

Turns out, just a bit further north is where the NWS confirmed an EF0 twister touched down in Newburgh.

His roof bucked just inches from his head, with the back window shattered and the bed of the truck “folded like a dinner plate.” He headed home to his wife and children.

“He came home and it defied all description,” wife Katie Cowart said.

Another truck driver is thankful to be alive. He was just about to get inside his vehicle when a rooftop directly above was ripped from a building on Broadway in Newburgh, crushing the cab of the truck.

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Storm damage is seen in Newburgh, NY on May 16, 2018 (credit: CBS2)

“Like a ‘BAM’ it was flying in the air that way and I hear a lot of noise and I come here and see all this stuff on my truck,” he said.

Just down the block, gusty winds sucked the roof off a business and dropped it in a park 100 feet across the street.

“It was horrendous,” said resident Ricky Huck. “I had to put my kids in the bathroom. It was like a tornado came through here. It was pretty bad.”

In the Dutchess town Fishkill, a tree fell on a UPS driver, sending him to the hospital with a broken vertebrae.

Hail the size of golf balls caused damage in Woodstock and video posted to social media shows the roof of a building in Rockland County tossed across the street.

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