Sheriff: Onlookers Wanting to See Tornado Damage Hamper Clean Up Efforts
The Sheriff of Oneida County is requesting no unnecessary travel into the Hamlet of Westernville as storm clean-up efforts continue there following a damaging tornado this week.
Sheriff Robert Maciol says curious bystanders and onlookers wanting to get a first hand look at the destruction are getting in the way crews taking care of debris and tree removal. The Sheriff's Office has setup patrol units in Westernville looking to keep unauthorized personal out of the area.
''Deputies are only allowing local residents, first responders, work crews, and volunteers into affected neighborhoods,'' Maciol said. ''Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the many residents that have been affected by this violent tornado.''
The National Weater Service has confirmed that an EF-1 twister did touch-down in Oneida County in the midst of several thunderstorms on Thursday, tearing roofs off of homes and barns, and snapping and uprooting trees. Reports say it first touched-down at Wood Valley Ski Area, then moved northeast into downtown Westernville.
Meanwhile, residents in tornado's wake are left to pick up the pieces, at least for now, without power. It's estimated the Hamlet and areas of the town of Western will be without electricity for another day, or more. A collection effort is underway to help those devastated by the storm.
Food, water, baby wipes, and ice are among many items needed by the victims in the immediate aftermath. The Western Volunteer Fire Department at 9305 Rt. 46 in Westernville has been set up as a place to drop off those items off. If you are doing so, you're asked to say on Route 46 and go directly to the fired department, avoiding unnecessary travel in to affected neighborhoods.