Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Tornado hits eastern Wayne County

Mark Davis was in the barn next to his Drabble Road home Sunday afternoon when the sound of roaring grew louder and louder and the building started to shake from the wind
“I grabbed the door and held on, trying to keep it closed,” he said. “ The noise was worse then an freight train.I never heard anything like it. I never experienced anything like this.”

What some are now saying was a tornado crashed through the woods to the west of Davis’ barn, ripping siding, shingles and a chimney off of Davis’ neighbors’ homes, toppling and splintering trees as if they were toothpicks. The wind picked up Davis and the door and threw him into the rubble it had already made of his barn as the storm passed through. It knocked down several trees on his property, sending limbs into the house and shattering windows.

Davis, who managed to crawl out from under the barn’s remains, ran into the basement and stayed there until the storm subsided.

He suffered a broken nose, a twisted ankle and cuts and bruises. A tree fell on his pickup as well, but he considers himself lucky to have escaped without more serious injury. His sister owns the house and it is insured.

The Davises are one of about a dozen families in northern Savannah in Wayne County, and western Conquest in Cayuga County who suffered damage as a result of the storm. Power was knocked out to several thousand Rochester Gas and Electric customers in the area; about 200 were still without power Monday because of a primary line that came one in front of Davis’ home, as well as the lines that came down on Route 89. Crews said they were in the process of replacing poles and were not sure if power would be back on until late that night.

Carlton and Lila Gay, who are in their 80s, were inside their house on Route 89 when the storm came through. It ripped off part of the roof, knocked down the chimney and did extensive damage to the south side of the house. Across the road, their large red barn was flattened.

Route 89 remained closed from both sides of u-shaped Cotten Road on Monday as crews worked to restore power and clean up the mess.

On Taylor Road, the storm tore off the roof on Karen Stewart’s raised roof ranch. She was home at the time, but was not hurt. Down the road, the huge trees in front of Fred Baker’s sprawling farmhouse were in a twisted mess Monday morning, but had miraculously managed not to fall on the structure.

Savannah Town Supervisor Ken Lauderdale called the damage in his town devastating. He said the American Red Cross was working to assist some of the affected families.