The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado destroyed homes and property in central New York, and killed four people.
Violent winds Tuesday clocked in at least 100 miles per hour in the Madison county town of Smithfield, between Syracuse and Utica, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Barbara Watson.
"It's going to be at least an EF2," Watson said.
An EF2 on the tornado-measuring Fujita Scale means it was "significant." But Watson stressed at a new conference Wednesday that pending their ongoing survey of the damage, it could prove to have been even more powerful.
The storm, which was part of a greater system that passed over the region Tuesday, knocked out power to 70,000 residents. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, about 40,000 were still without power.
Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley identified the four victims as a 35-year-old woman and her four month-old daughter, a 70-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man.
"So as you can see the tragedy has affected all of us here in Madison County, not just the residents up there [Smithfield]" Riley said. "My heart goes out to the family of the victims there."
Riley says a two-storey home was blown off its foundation, carried aloft for hundreds of feet before it landed on an unoccupied house.
Governor Andrew Cuomo traveled to Madison county Wednesday morning to survey the damage.
"The property damage we can repair," Cuomo said, offering state partnership to the county for clean-up efforts. "Unfortunately there is damage that has been done that no one can repair."
Severe thunderstorms packing strong winds swept through a number of Eastern states on Tuesday, killing five people.