A pair of powerful, funnel-shaped clouds landed in New York City on today. At first, nobody was really sure what to call them.
At about 1 p.m., the National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down, according to the Associated Press, in Breezy Point, Queens. However, by 2 p.m., the NWS appeared to be walking back from that statement, with a spokesman saying instead that “tornado” designation wouldn’t necessarily become official until the site was inspected.
But at roughly 3:30 p.m., the NWS confirmed that it was in fact a tornado – an EF-0 twister, the weakest kind, reaching top wind speeds up to 85 mph.
The agency also confirmed that an EF-1 tornado, packing winds up to 110 mph, hit Canarsie, Brooklyn earlier in the day.
An FDNY spokesman said there were downed power lines down, along with other damage, in the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula. Awnings and sidings were shredded and windows were smashed, but there were no reports of any injuries.
Con Ed reported 1,300 outages across Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
The NWS had said earlier that radar detected a “strong rotation” in the storm.
Joan Washington said she was in her car when the sky suddenly got dark, the wind picked up and it howled like a freight train down Rockaway Point Boulevard.
“As I pulled up, I saw this vehicle – the two rear tires went up in the air,” she told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “They crashed down into the car next to it, and one of those chimney pipes blew over right through the air like ‘The Wizard of Oz.'”
Jim Brady told CBS 2′s Dick Brennan that he was shutting down his cabana for the summer at the Breezy Point Surf Club when he had his brush with a tornado.
“I just crawled into a ball and said ‘go by, go by, go by,’ and it went by,'” Brady said.
Experts told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten that trees and debris in the area showed clear signs of tornado damage.
“We’ve looked at some of the damage, we see damage to some of the cabanas. There are trees that have clearly been twisted and shaved,” said Joe Bruno, Director of the NYC Office of Emergency Management.
A tornado watch was to remain effect until 9 p.m. for Nassau and Suffolk counties and parts of Connecticut.
The US Open postponed the women’s singles final until Sunday as a result of the severe weather.
The tornado that touched down in Canarsie was the strongest one of the day, CBS 2′s Elise Finch spoke with residents who were assessing the damage.
“I opened the door and everything was downed, trees, everything,” said Norma Cammarata.
1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten also made it out to Canarsie where residents told him that the tornado moved through very quickly.
“As quick as it came it just stopped like that. And then the sun came out,” said Gloria.
Source: 1010 WINS