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2141 Long Island tornado
EF6 tornado (NWS)
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Date July 9, 2141
Times 1550 - 1645 EDT
Touchdown location Long Island
Injuries 212
Fatalities 31
Damage $805 million
Areas affected Long Island, NY
Part of the
Tornadoes of 2141

The 2141 Long Island tornado was a very violent, destructive, deadly and long tracked tornado that occurred on the afternoon of July 9, 2141, prompting the issuance of a tornado emergency for most of the areas hit as a result. It is also the only tornado to reach EF5 intensity in the state, breaking the record set by an F4 250 years earlier in the process for the strongest New York tornado on record. The tornado would remain on the ground for 55 minutes, tearing much of the structures along its path apart in the process.


Synopsis

In the day leading up to the tornado, a complex low pressure area moved down from the Great Lakes and merged with a frontal zone, which moved down towards the Mid - Atlantic states, building the CAPE values ahead of the resulting powerful storms in the process. This prompted the NWS SPC to issue an Enhanced Risk for severe weather the next day as a result. During the late morning hours of July 9, the resulting storm began breaking up into a series of powerful supercells laden with energy, and the NWS upgraded their outlook to High Risk at 1300 EDT, which would last until the following afternoon, and issuing a series of PDS severe thunderstorm and PDS tornado watches along the US East Coast.

By 1330, the local NWS office had issued a PDS severe thunderstorm warning for Long Island, stating "Dangerous flooding and lightning will accompany powerful supercell thunderstorms moving over the island over the next few hours. A PDS tornado warning will likely be issued within a few hours if the current setup gets any worse". At 1430, the expected PDS tornado warning was issued, which stated "It is very likely that a violent (EF4+) tornado will be spawned by this storm. Do not take any chances. Take cover immediately!!"

At 1550, a large funnel cloud touched down, and proceeded to rapidly intensify, producing EF4 damage within 5 minutes of formation, and hitting largely populated areas, prompting a tornado emergency to be issued, which stated "A very large, very violent tornado has been on the ground for the last 5 minutes, and is destroying most things in its path.This is a repeat of the PDS tornado warning issued not long ago...Do not take chances with the tornado, and take cover immediately! Do not attempt to engage the tornado in any way. Reapeat...Do not try to engage the tornado in any way. Take immediate cover!!"

By 1635, the tornado had begun to finally weaken as it moved into an unfavourable environment, and at 1645, it lifted, leaving $805 million in damages, 212 injured, and 31 dead in its wake.

Rating

The tornado had so many characteristics that didnt fit the EF5 category of the Enhanced Fujita Scale that a whole new category had to be added to the scale as a result. The tornado left ground scouring 4 feet deep, and managed to sweep away entire reinforced buildings, along with their reinforced foundations, as well as being able to pick up a 205 tonne crane of a building site and throw it 220 metres through the air. All of this, so inconsistent with EF5 damage indicators, led to the twister being designated as an EF6 as a result, the first of its kind 2 months after the incident.

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