Tornado In New York, A TORNADO swept out of the sea and hit New York City today, hurling debris in the air, knocking out power and startling residents. Videos taken by bystanders showed a funnel cloud sucking up water, then sand, and then small pieces of buildings, as it moved through the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in the borough of Queens.
Residents had advance notice. The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for Queens and Brooklyn at 10.40am local time.
The storm took people by surprise anyway when it struck about 30 minutes later.
“I was showing videos of tornadoes to my 4-year-old on my phone, and two minutes later, it hit,” said 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, at least 90m from any nearby home.
“It picked up picnic benches. It picked up dumpsters,” said the club’s general manager, Thomas Sullivan.
Half an hour later the weather was beautiful but he had to close the club to clean up the damage.
The roof of Bob O’Hara’s cabana was torn off, leaving tubes of sunscreen, broken beer bottles and an old TV set exposed to the elements.
“We got a new sunroof,” said O’Hara, who has spent summer weekends at the Breezy Point club for his entire 52 years. “The TV was getting thrown out anyway,” he added.
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 region. 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.
Authorities say a couple and their grandchild had no time to reach a shelter before winds from a severe thunderstorm flung their mobile home into a creek in northeast Oklahoma, killing them. A Missouri truck driver also was killed when winds flipped his vehicle.
Nowata County sheriff’s deputy Rick Harper said the winds picked up the mobile home and carried it about 90m before it landed. Harper says the home basically “disintegrated” and officials found the bodies in the water after a two-hour search.
National Weather Service meteorologist Pete Snyder says radar didn’t show a tornado in the area but a team was dispatched to determine what happened.