Elmira, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Governor declares a State of Emergency for Chemung County. The city of Elmira is "shut down" after a possible tornado ripped through the Elmira-Horseheads area, scattering trees and damaging buildings, according to officials from the Chemung County Emergency Management Office.
Emergency officials say widespread damage has forced the closure of multiple roads in and out of the city of Elmira. They also say travel is prohibited in the city, other than for emergency vehicles.
We have a reporter on the scene in Chemung County.
An Emergency Operations Center has been established at the Weis Market in downtown Elmira.
According to our media partners at WENY-TV, a shelter was being opened for displaced residents. They also spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Nicosia, who said a helicopter was being dispatched to the area to assess the damage.
Utilities reported more than 20,000 customers without power in the area.
Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Chemung County, allowing New York State to better coordinate and respond with local governments.
According to the Governor's office, the storms caused widespread power outages, damage to homes, apartments, businesses, public and private property, and damaged and downed thousands of trees.
"This afternoon's severe thunderstorms, including strong winds, possible tornadoes, and large hail, caused serious damage in Chemung County and the surrounding areas. This state of emergency declaration will help the state get critical resources to communities that were hit the hardest," Governor Cuomo said.
Action News will update this story with more information as it becomes available.