NWS: 'Straight-Lined Winds' leave path of destruction in Port Gibson

(WHAM photo)

Port Gibson, N.Y. (13WHAM) - Some in the Port Gibson area say the weather-event that left scores of trees either snapped or up-heaved was a tornado, or at least a microburst.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo says otherwise, saying it was "straight-lined winds" that tore through the area Tuesday morning, as much of the region was getting pounded by thunderstorms.

"We looked out, and we couldn’t believe our eyes," said Port Gibson farmer John Koeberle. He says his wife ran to the cellar, thinking a tornado was approaching.

"I would say it’s close to something you see on television, down in Florida when they’ve got hurricanes<" he said.

Unlike a hurricane, Koeberle says the storm lasted just minutes.

Koeberle alone lost a dozen trees on his property.

About a mile south, the Custers say they had a path carved through once-dense woods next to their home.

"It was pouring, and then it got real quiet, and then it got real black, it just all broke loose," said Tammy Custer. "It was like a freight train coming through you."

The NWS says photos of the area do not indicate the presence of a tornado or microburst. The NWS says it is not planning to visit the area and investigate further.

For now, the extensive cleanup is underway, and repairs to some homes and cars damaged by falling limbs and trees.

Fred Lawson, who lives across the road from Koeberle, knows he's lucky to be OK after losing several trees.

He says at one point during the storm, rain was falling so hard, he couldn't see his garage from his house, which is just steps away.

"All the sudden, the downpour came, within seconds, there was a big ‘whoosh,’ is all I can really explain it, then a big a roar,: said Lawson. Then within a minute or so, it was done!"

The Ontario County Sheriff says there are no reports of any injuries during the storm.

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