Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Wendel defines Forestville storm as ‘tornadic activity’

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A tree down on Shaw Road near Forestville.

FORESTVILLE — Wednesday afternoon, the hamlet of Forestville was a victim of what County Executive PJ Wendel defined as “tornadic activity.”

Heavy winds and rain ravaged Prospect Road in Forestville, where the majority of the impact was felt. Wendel defined the storm as taking “a very interesting path,” as it focused in the Prospect Road area before fading into the surrounding wooded areas.

The National Weather Service will be determining whether the storm is actually characterized as a tornado. The Department of Environmental Conservation will also be assessing the area with a drone to survey the damage and define the path of the storm.

“I think they are going to confirm what we already expect,” said Noel Guttman, Chautauqua County Emergency Coordinator.

Forestville Fire Department Chief Kyle Barthel stated that at 12:22 p.m., Wednesday, his department was dispatched to reports of downed trees in the Town of Arkwright. He described a “snowball effect” with calls flooding in with reports of trees and power lines downed.

The Forestville Fire Department received aid from the Silver Creek Fire Department and the Sheridan Fire Department. The Hanover and Arkwright Highway Departments also assisted with clearing of the roads.

One resident called to report the roof was taken off her house on Prospect Road. Barthel responded and found “several buildings that had been taken out.” He listed the residence, a barn, and multiple garages that were damaged by the storm. Four trees in the area were entirely uprooted and displaced, while several other trees were downed, as well.

One person was transported to a nearby hospital with minor injuries after their vehicle struck a downed tree. Another person on Prospect Road sustained minor injuries and declined medical services.

Wendel said that with how much damage was sustained in the area, he was “very surprised to see there wasn’t any more significant injuries” than what was reported. Wendel added, “By the grace of God, we survived this. I think a few chickens may have perished, but other than that, we came out unscathed.”

Barthel commended the community for looking out for itself. He urged anyone in need to reach out to the Forestville Fire Department, which can be reached at (716) 965-4106.

“If anybody has any problems with anything that has happened today and we have not been to your house, don’t hesitate to call. We will come up there and check everything out for you,” Barthel said.

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