Tennis courts

Update: Mattituck High School gymnasium, tennis courts damaged by tornado as winds reached 75-85 mph


Update (7:30 p.m.): The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that an EF0 tornado touched down in Mattituck for about three minutes when a strong thunderstorm ripped through the area late Sunday night.

An NWS investigation team confirmed the tornado in coordination with Suffolk County Fire and Emergency Services, according to an afternoon update.

EF0 is the lowest on the scale of 0 to 5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

A report from the NWS shows an estimated peak wind for the tornado at 75-85 mph. The length of its course was 2.1 miles and its width 75 meters. The start time was 11:17 p.m. with an end time of 11:20 p.m.

The NWS report is preliminary and subject to change pending final review.

In an interview Monday night, Mattituck Superintendent Shawn Petretti confirmed the tornado touched down on the school’s campus, causing “significant” damage to tennis courts, fences, netting and boards. display as well as the roof of the secondary school’s main gymnasium.

“You could see daylight from the gymnasium in some sections,” Mr Petretti said, describing the damage.

He was alerted to the damage early Monday by teams of guards who observed the tennis courts and discovered the damage in the gymnasium. “Fortunately no one was in the building when this happened,” the superintendent said.

Repairs to the roof of this part of the gymnasium were due to take place as part of the district’s five-year plan and the gymnasium floor was recently covered this summer.

Schools were closed on Monday (and will be on Tuesday) for Rosh Hashanah and Mr. Petretti said the district “fully intends” to reopen on Wednesday. “We will be deprived of the use of our gymnasium until appropriate repairs can be made,” he said.

This could potentially impact the school’s homecoming schedule, which included the annual Tucker Bowl, bonfire and cheer rally.

“It’s one of the highlights of the year,” he said, adding that school administrators are currently working to reschedule some events or move them outside. The return matches – boys’ and girls’ football – will go ahead as planned on Friday under the lights, Mr Petretti said.

Tennis practices and matches will also be impacted until the district can repair the courts. “We will work with the community and our neighboring schools as needed and intend to maintain the program,” Mr Petretti said.

The superintendent declined to estimate the cost of the repairs, but noted that they would be covered by insurance.

“At this point, we’re used to Mother Nature throwing curveballs at us,” he said. “We’ll make the best of it and again, I’m just grateful that no one was in the building and no one was hurt.”

The NWS released a detailed report Monday night, detailing how the tornado first touched down at Juniper Hill Farms around 11:17 p.m., damaging a greenhouse and downing a few large trees on the property. He headed northeast over a one-mile stretch of remote wooded area.

The tornado appeared to touch down between Wickham Avenue and Mary’s Road north of Pike Street, the NWS said. A large maple tree was sheared off a few feet from its base. The NWS said this area saw the heaviest damage path at around 50 to 75 meters in width.

The tornado continued east across the high school runway “bending and damaging a large scoreboard, knocking over metal benches and establishing a 100-foot section of upwind fencing on the north side of the adjacent tennis courts. heading north.”

The tornado continued east over the high school, “ripping through large sections of asphalt roofing material on one of the main buildings.” Winds were probably in the range of 75-85 mph at the time.

The tornado existed to the east over an area of ​​homes on Village Lake and caused extensive damage to trees and fences of several homes before lifting around 11:20 p.m. No damage was spotted further east. is.

PSEG Long Island reported that all storm outages in the area were restored as of 7 p.m. Monday.

Lighting over Long Island Sound Sunday night. (Credit: Jeremy Garretson)

Original story: The National Weather Service is investigating whether a tornado touched down in Mattituck overnight in the Old Sound Avenue area and west toward Sound Avenue.

Nelson Vaz, meteorologist at the NWS’ Upton office, said Monday morning: ‘We have reports of a possible tornado and are working with Suffolk Emergency Services to determine what it was. … We also sent someone to the scene this morning, and people are sending us pictures. We will go through all the radar data and talk to people and make a call about it later today.

A public information statement from the NWS at 11:49 a.m. said a final assessment would be completed with a public statement at 6 p.m.

The Southold Highway Department spent the early morning hours clearing the west end of Old Sound Avenue. Highways Superintendent Dan Goodwin said the path appeared to have crossed the street directly and headed east to Mattituck High School. Mr Goodwin said he received the first call around 1.30am.

The street was littered with branches on Monday morning and one house had a large section of tree resting on the roof.

Betsy Kennedy, a resident of Old Sound Avenue, said: “I was watching TV around midnight when the wind got crazy. It was like being in a blender. Then the power was cut off. »

PSEG Long Island was reporting multiple outages in the region as of Monday morning with 354 customers affected.

The NWS had issued a severe thunderstorm warning around 11:14 p.m. Sunday evening for the East End.

Tornadoes, while rare, are not entirely uncommon in the region. Confirmed tornadoes were reported on Fishers Island in 2018 and Mattituck in 2016.


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