NEW YORK (AP) — A possible 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.”
Fire Department officials said there were power lines down and possibly other damage.
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.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Queens and Brooklyn as the storm moved through the city. It expired at 11:30 a.m.
The service says radar detected a “strong rotation” in the storm, which delayed play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament a few miles away.