SMITHFIELD, N.Y. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms packing strong winds rolled through central New York, killing four people, destroying or damaging numerous houses and knocking out power to more than 70,000 utility customers, officials said Wednesday.
The deaths occurred in the rural town of Smithfield, between Syracuse and Utica, after the storms hit at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Madison County Sheriff's Office said.
Injuries and damage from fast-moving storms Tuesday were not limited to New York state. In Maryland, a child at a summer camp was killed by a falling tree. Three small tornadoes touched down in Ohio and at least one other was sighted in Pennsylvania, where more than 300,000 lost power at the peak of the storms.
In New York, at least four Smithfield homes were completely destroyed and numerous others were damaged, Undersheriff John Ball said. More information is expected to be released at a news conference Wednesday morning
Early Wednesday, about 72,000 homes and businesses were without power, most in central and northern New York.
Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley did not identify the victims. He told The Post-Standard of Syracuse he was still notifying their families.
The storm destroyed four homes, ripping one from its foundation and tossing it onto another house, the newspaper reported. Three other houses nearby also were damaged. The National Weather Service said the winds were likely stronger than 60 mph.
Riley said in a television interview late Tuesday that search dogs were being used to go over the rubble at the Smithfield site and that neighbors were being interviewed.
"We're just picking up parts of the house to see if anybody is underneath them," he said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Joanne LaBounty said investigators will be in the area to determine if a tornado touched down.
The spokesman for the emergency management office said there was widespread damage in the towns of Sullivan and Lenox, between Syracuse and Utica.