2 Tornadoes Touch Down in NYC

Saturday, September 08, 2012

tornado, jamaica bay A weather system develops over Jamaica Bay where there were reports of a tornado touching down. (Kevin Kuffner via Facebook)

The National Weather Service says a second, stronger tornado touched down in Brooklyn moments after the first hit a beachside area in Queens — hurling debris in the air, knocking out power and startling residents who once thought of twisters as a Midwestern phenomenon.

The second tornado hit Saturday about 11:05 a.m., in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, around 10 minutes after the first struck Breezy Point on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.

The weather service says winds were up to 110 miles per hour, and several homes and trees were damaged. No injuries were reported.

Severe weather was forecast into Saturday evening.

Firefighters were still assessing the damage Saturday, but an hour after it struck there were still no reported injuries and the area affected by the storm appeared small.

Videos taken by bystanders showed a funnel cloud hurling sand and debris in the air, and possibly small pieces of buildings, as it moved through the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens.

"It was crazy," said neighborhood resident Joseph Mure, who was in the shower when the storm hit, and went outside to snap a picture of the retreating funnel. "There were a lot of sirens going off. You could see it twisting."

Fire Department officials said there were power lines down and possibly other damage.

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. 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 storm system killed four people, including a child, in Oklahoma on Friday.

Radar data, video and witness reports confirmed that the cyclone that hit New York City was a tornado, National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Hofmann said. He said an inspection team would assess the damage and before estimating the strength of the storm. Hofmann said some witnesses were reporting that the wind had been strong enough to lift cars off the pavement.

Thomas Sullivan, general manager of the Breezy Point Surf Club, said the twister ripped up cabanas and deck chairs.

"A lot of rain, a lot of wind," he said. "It picked up picnic benches. It picked up Dumpsters."

Half an hour later the weather was beautiful, but he's had to close the club to clean up the damage.

Lizann Maher, a worker at Kennedy's Restaurant at the edge of Jamaica Bay, said she saw a "swirling cone kind of thing with something flying in it" come down and then head back out into the water toward Brooklyn.

"It was scary. We have all glass so we kept saying, `Get away from the glass!' just in case it did come back around," she said.

The Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for Queens and Brooklyn at around 10:40 a.m. as the storm began to move through the city. Reports of storm damage in Breezy Point began coming in at around 11:15 a.m.

The storm delayed play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament a few miles away.


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Comments [10]


Hey freecheese, where do you think the bulk of disaster relief donations come from when one of your Midwest towns gets clobbered by mother nature? Not from Kentucky or Minnesota, that's guaranteed.

Sep. 08 2012 01:16 PM

Whoopie 'effin do ! Do you think this would make national news if a twister hit Cromwell, MN or Headly,KS ? What's so important about this story to impress the people who live in fly-over-country ? Guess it's because it happened in New YAWK. It's ALL OVER cable news, non stop.

Sep. 08 2012 01:01 PM
Polyphemos from Never in NYC

Every toilet needs to be flushed from time to time. It always amazes me that the government has lulled people into thinking they can live without risk. As the sun (not CO2) continues to heat the Earth to 5th Century BCE levels, you will see many more of these. It is the precursor to mile-high ice sheets, in a couple of hundred years.

Sep. 08 2012 12:46 PM

There is like a six block area in Manhattan where major media corporations have offices. If there was any justice in this world, a cluster of category 5 tornadoes would visit those buildings and grind them into the bowels of Hades. "Return to sender," as it were.

Sep. 08 2012 12:43 PM

Hum, that is a waterspout, not a tornado. If it moved over land, then it would be a tornado

Sep. 08 2012 12:33 PM
Michelle from Astoria, NY

I'm with Patrick! Point Breeze may be a street on the peninsula (not sure), but it is definitely not an "area" I've ever heard about before. Get the facts straight!

Sep. 08 2012 12:24 PM

How would I feel if I woke up tomorrow morning and learned that 20 tornados had touched down in NYC?

I'm kinda sleepy, I think I'll go back to bed.

Sep. 08 2012 12:21 PM
Bill from Midtown

Sun is out in midtown, seriously

Sep. 08 2012 12:16 PM
Lisa Castro

Makes sense to me - NYS certainly sucks.

Sep. 08 2012 11:59 AM

This tornado is the first time I've ever heard "Point Breeze"

Isn't it Breezy Point? That's what I've always heard and that's what Google Maps says but these stories says Point Breeze. I guess the weather service made a mistake that has spread throughout media?

Sep. 08 2012 11:55 AM


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