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Two tornadoes touch down in NYC on Saturday

posted at 11:36 am on September 9, 2012 by

When lamp shades shook and windows rattled all over the Big Apple one calm afternoon last August, many New Yorkers were incredulous that they had just experienced an earthquake, if in miniature. This time around, there was no mistaking the nature of the severe weather as two separate ominous black funnels swept through parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

The pictures don’t lie. One tornado rampaged through a beachfront neighborhood in Queens, sending debris flying and knocking out power. Snapshots and videos taken by bystanders showed the anvil-shaped cloud sucking up water, then sand, and finally manmade structures. The area hardest hit was the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens.

A second tornado struck further west in Canarsie, Brooklyn. The National Weather Service reported that winds were clocked at up to 110 miles per hour. Several homes and trees were damaged, but no serious injuries were reported.

The New York Post gathered reactions from residents. One of them is quoted as saying, “It was crazy. There were a lot of sirens going off. You could see it twisting.” Another said, “I was showing videos of tornadoes to my 4-year-old on my phone, and two minutes later, it hit. Just like they always say, it sounded like a train.”

The Post reports that the tornado ripped the roofs off rows of cabanas at the Breezy Point Surf Club. The winds also rearranged 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.

Although both storms were officially designated as tornadoes, they may not be the first to visit the five boroughs. In 2010, violent winds swept along the city’s southern coast, felling trees and power lines. A video report suggests that many at the time presumed the event to be a twister.

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Well, now NYC has something in common with flyover country.

J/k. Glad no one was seriously hurt.

Bitter Clinger on September 9, 2012 at 12:11 PM

This isn’t the first time. Most of the time we get mini tornadoes. The weather was so weird yesterday. Sunny, cloudy, sunny, cloudy/windy, sunny, cloudy/windy/rain, cold.

Beautiful day today.

Mommynator on September 9, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Speaking as a longtime resident of Kansas, I’d rather deal with the tornadoes than libocrite majorities in City Hall & the Statehouse, YKWIS? ;-)

(But I’m perfectly glad to hear that no one was badly hurt… property damage can always be repaired!)

DeepWheat on September 9, 2012 at 12:25 PM

The Daily News ran a Page 1 picture back in the mid-1970s that someone snapped looking out from Lower Manhattan of a tornado in the sky over Bayonne, N.J., with the Statue of Liberty in the foreground. So the recent weather is not unprecedented, but in the the era of doppler radar with street-level mapping and digital cell phone cameras everywhere, charting the occurrences is far easier.

jon1979 on September 9, 2012 at 12:29 PM

there was a storm (in NC) yesterday but no funnel cloud that i saw o___o i’ve never experienced a tornado up close and i hope i never will! the thought of a tornado really scares me. even when there’s a storm with no tornado, i start to get nervous anyway. thanks soooo much for posting this article and increasing my fear level

Sachiko on September 9, 2012 at 1:11 PM

thanks soooo much for posting this article and increasing my fear level

That’s what I’m here for. ;-)

Howard Portnoy on September 9, 2012 at 1:26 PM