A low-grade tornado left a two-mile path of damage to trees, homes and a school in Mattituck as strong thunderstorms passed through Long Island late Sunday night, September 25, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
The twister clocked in as an EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale that ranks tornado strength, with estimated peak winds of 75-85 mph, according to a NWS storm survey team’s preliminary report. The 75-yard-wide tornado traveled 2.1 miles, touching down at 11:17 p.m. at Juniper Hill Farm and lifting three minutes later near Mattituck-Cutchogue Jr.-Sr. High School, NWS reported. There were no reported injuries.
“This occurred all very quickly,” said Nelson Vaz, an Upton-based NWS meteorologist.
The tornado was the first on Long Island since an unprecedented six touched down the same day in November, three of which were on the East End.
After damaging a greenhouse and downing a couple of large trees at the farm, the latest twister traveled north/northeast through a wooded area, sheared off several treetops and appears likely to have lifted and skipped across town “before definitively touching down once again” between Wickham Avenue and Mary’s Road, surveyors reported.
“A large maple tree sheared a few feet from its base, minor siding and roof damage, and leaf splatter on the west and south sides of homes” was reported at the scene, NWS said.
From there, the tornado traveled to the school, “twisting and damaging a large scoreboard, overturning metal benches, and laying down a 100-foot section of wind fence,” NWS said in its report. “The tornado then continued east over the high school, ripping up large sections of asphalt roofing material over one of the main buildings. The damage across the high school grounds was the most severe along the path, consistent with tornadic winds of 75 to 85 mph.”
It then continued east, damaged more trees, homes and fences before lifting for the last time, NWS said. The last time a tornado hit Mattituck was 2016.