On The Belt Parkway

Now that’s a Brooklyn Cyclone!

A tornado swept out of the sea and hit a beachfront neighborhood in New York  City on Saturday, hurling debris in the air, knocking out power and startling  residents who once thought of twisters as a Midwestern phenomenon.

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.”

On The Belt Parkway

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

Radar data, video and witness reports confirmed that the cyclone 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.

Photos appeared on line of the giant twister as it made its way to New York  City.

Instagram user, zach12rose, posted from the Belt Parkway, “#tornado on the  belt parkway. insaneeee.”

Today’s storm is the second time in less than a month that a twister was  spotted in the area.

A tornado touched down in Suffolk County on August 11,   causing over 1,000 people to lose power and knocking down power lines, damaging  homes and uprooting trees.

The Aug. 11 tornado, which hit at 2:06 p.m., was given the smallest rating  for a twister, said Chris Vaccaro of the National Weather Service.

Source: The NY Post


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