'I Was Lucky': Tornado Crushes Oneida County Barn, Kills Cow

LEE CENTER, N.Y. (AP) — An Oneida County family says it has no plans to rebuild a more than 100-year-old barn destroyed this week by a small tornado.

Vernie Pritchard tells syracuse.com she was beginning her evening chores Thursday when she looked outside and saw the twister ripping through her family farm.

The tornado flattened the barn, flipped a hay wagon and killed a cow on Pritchard’s Highland Farm in Lee Center.

“I was lucky,” she told the news outlet. “I could have been in the barn when it hit.”

The National Weather Service in Binghamton sent a survey team to the farm Friday and determined the tornado traveled 1.2 miles (1.93 kilometers) and had a maximum width of 75 yards (69 meters).

The twister was rated an F1 and reached speeds of 95 mph (153 kilometers/hour). It snapped the tops off several trees in its path as it headed through West Branch State Forest.

The properties surrounding the farm were largely unaffected, Pritchard said, adding her “neighbors didn't even know there was a tornado.”

She said the farm has been in her husband's family since 1852.

“The barn is a complete loss,” she said. “It took lifetimes to build what we have.”