2 tornadoes strike in New York-A A +A
Sunday, September 9, 2012
NEW YORK -- Two tornadoes struck the outer edges of New York City on Saturday, one hitting a beachfront neighborhood and the second, stronger twister striking moments later about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away, startling residents who once thought of twisters as a Midwestern phenomenon.
The powerful winds hurled debris into the air and knocked out power, but no serious injuries were reported.
Videos taken by bystanders showed a funnel cloud sucking up water, then sand, and then small pieces of buildings, as the first moved through the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens.
The second hit to the northwest, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn also near the water, about seven minutes later. The National Weather Service said winds were up to 110 miles per hour (177 kph), and several homes and trees were damaged.
Residents had advance notice. The weather service had issued a tornado warning for Queens and Brooklyn at around 10:40 a.m. The storm took people by surprise anyway when it struck about 20 minutes later.
"I was showing videos of tornadoes to my 4-year-old on my phone, and two minutes later, it hit," said Breezy Point neighborhood resident Peter Maloney. "Just like they always say, it sounded like a train."
In the storm's wake, the community of seaside bungalows was littered with broken flower pots, knocked-down fences and smashed windows.
At the Breezy Point Surf Club, the tornado ripped the roofs off rows of cabanas, scattered deck chairs and left a heavy metal barbecue and propane tank sitting in the middle of a softball field.
"It picked up picnic benches. It picked up Dumpsters," said the club's general manager, Thomas Sullivan.
The second tornado tore through parts of Brooklyn with strong winds, causing structural damage to several homes and felling trees.
The tornado struck as part of a line of storms that were expected to bring damaging winds, hail, heavy rain and possibly more tornadoes throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Saturday. More than 1,100 customers lost power in New York City.
Across New York state, in Buffalo, strong winds from a broad front of thunderstorms blew roofing off of some buildings and sent bricks falling into the street.
The city of Albany canceled the evening portion of an outdoor jazz festival because of the threat of storms, and hundreds of upstate New York homes lost power as the weather system moved through.
In Oklahoma on Friday, a storm system killed four people, including a child.
Tornadoes were once exceedingly rare in New York, but they have occurred with regularity in recent years. A small tornado uprooted trees on Long Island last month. In 2010, a September storm spawned two tornadoes that knocked down thousands of trees and blew off a few rooftops in Brooklyn and Queens. A small tornado struck the same year in the Bronx. In 2007, a more powerful tornado damaged homes in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
The storm delayed play at the US Open tennis tournament a few miles away. The women's final, scheduled for Saturday night, was postponed until Sunday because of a forecast of additional rain. The second of two men's semifinals was suspended Saturday with David Ferrer leading Novak Djokovic 5-2 in the first set. (AP)