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New York state's deadliest tornado claims five lives

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 5:04 PM - Severe storms ripped through parts of Canada and the U.S. on Tuesday, spurring the deadliest tornado in New York state's history.

Severe thunderstorm watches were in effect across southern Ontario as a cold front moved through the region, contributing to Wednesday's cooler temperatures.

That same cold front is responsible for an EF-1 tornado touching down south of the community of Montmagny, Quebec and multiple tornadoes in the U.S.

"Three EF1 tornadoes were seen in Ohio Tuesday evening as a result of the cold front," says Weather Network meteorologist Brian Dillon.


RELATED: An active tornado season in Ontario


"As the front pushed east through the Finger Lakes of New York State, there was a confirmed microburst -- a cold volume of air that's pushed down from the storm and spread over the land -- in Syracuse."

According to Dillon, the microburst generated winds up to 120 kilometres per hour.

In Smithfield, New York an EF2 tornado touched down killing at least five people, including one infant.

The twister packed winds up to 200 kilometres per hour. While it wasn't the strongest tornado in the state's 226 year history, it was the deadliest.

At least seven homes were damaged including one that was completely blown off its foundation, according to police.

"It looks like a bomb went off in a house," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Wednesday press conference. "Houses we can replace, buildings we can replace. When you lose a 4-month-old baby, when you lose a family, there is no damage like that."

One person was taken to the hospital with injuries but has since been released.

The storm also cut power to approximately 70,000 residents. As of Wednesday afternoon, many were still in the dark.

IS THIS REALLY NEW YORK'S DEADLIEST TORNADO?

"In 1989 it was reported that a tornado touched down in New York State, killing nine people," Dillon says, "but according to T. Theodore Fujita -- the man responsible for creating the official scale that measures tornadic strength -- the weather event that occurred in 1989 wasn't a tornado but rather, a microburst."

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