Theresa NY-Funnel Cloud, Windstorm, or Microburst?

Just don’t call it a tornado


Photo courtesy of Christopher Knudsen.

First responder photo of the destruction at Eiss Brothers auto parts business.

Zana Healy, Staff Reporter

Saturday Feb. 25, 2017 a massive wind storm hit the north country. The worst of the storm hit Theresa N.Y. where one witness says a funnel cloud formed.

During this storm a man and his family had narrowly escaped the storm’s wrath on Theresa on Saturday. The man, a small automobile dealer, was in his office with a customer when the wind got bad. The customer’s two daughters were in a car outside that had almost got hit by a fallen pine tree.  The man’s wife and grandson were in their nearby house, which was undamaged.

The dealer’s collection of show cars, including several expensive and somewhat rare Ford Mustangs, were damaged when the wind tore one of his garages in half.

On, “Must See Video: funnel cloud forms in the sky,” 7 news meteorologist Joe LaPlante says that a funnel cloud can not be called a tornado for the reason that in order for it to be called a tornado it has to reach the ground, and there must be evidence of it (i.e. video or radar evidence).

Many people have seen the damage on video at Eiss Brothers auto parts in Theresa as well.  It is pretty clear that those winds were straight-line winds, which knocked down a wall and scattered a lot of things, including the entire bed of a pickup truck around the property.

All the meteorologist say this storm was a really bad windstorm. But because the evidence shows mostly straight-line winds, they don’t believe this was a start of a tornado.  They are still doing some more research according to the Massena Daily Courier Observer; so far most meteorologists say Saturday’s storm in Theresa, Pamelia was microburst, not tornado (video).

According to the Watertown Daily Times article, “the National Weather Service doesn’t plan to send meteorologists to the scene since there’s a lack of evidence that a tornado occurred.”

Video from the Eiss Bros. Auto Parts lot can be found at