Thunderstorms with gusty winds rolled in to Syracuse around 4:30 p.m. and hit the city’s Northside the hardest.
Emergency crews raced from call to call as neighbors lost power and found wires and trees down in their yards and at their businesses.
Neighbors say the storm’s fierce winds lasted only minutes.
“The tree was moving all sides and it was so windy up here,” said Ashmita Gautam, who was outside when the winds picked up on Pond Street near Tops.
While it was described as only lasting a short time, many areas sustained substantial damage neighbors say will be costly, but will take many days to clean up.
Damage along Pond Street ranged from dangling street lights to wires and tress down, while several homes in the area also had uprooted trees outside their front doors.
“I was out here trying to pick up my brother and then I just saw winds going back and forth. I was scared for a little while,” Gautam said. “My brother’s bus was a kind late, I guess because of the weather and the tree just fell down this way.”
Many neighbors walked the streets taking photos and video of damage while Syracuse Police, Syracuse Fire and National Grid crews worked.
“There will be a gust of wind that you could never predict what tree it’s going to hit,” explained Stephen Harris, City Arborist, Syracuse Parks Department. “It just happened to catch that big old sugar maple which has maybe a little root decay or just the leaves create a sail and the wind just caught it in the right way and applied a lot of force.”
A family nursery on Grant Boulevard near Butternut Street was hit hard by strong winds bringing a large limb down to the ground. One side of the building also crumbled in the wind with a side of the roof falling off.
The owner tells us he plans to have their insurance company come as soon as possible to assess the damage.
Further down the boulevard in the storm’s path – the Woodlawn Cemetery and Mausoleums. A peaceful place turned upside down as parts of the cemetery’s new fence were destroyed. Several trees were uprooted, but leaving most gravesites untouched.
While many may want to speed up the clean-up process, city crews want you to wait.
“If you have wires down on the ground and they are carrying electricity they can energize anything that they are touching,” Harris said. “Water conveys electricity so it’s just a situation that people might not be expecting but can be dangerous.”