Park Slope Brooklyn Gets Hit With Tornado

brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)September 17, 2010

What a shock to see winds well over a 100 mph with white rain and debri, snapping trees left and right and lifting roofs in Brooklyn? My neighborhood? Its true. A roof torn off on 18th Street, crushed cars when it landed on 17th Street some distance away.

All palms survived and did well. People where shock and inner city highways clogged from 30-40 foot trees tossed onto the arteries. I could NOT even see outside, all you could see was white and hear the roar like a sound of a train. Some others of you must have been thru a tornado like this - not being able to see anything during it - was that normal?

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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hey Greg,

First of all I'm glad you and your home made it thru all of that terrible weather! What a crazy unexpected storm that came from nowhere!!

We had some weather like that a month ago that spawned a few tornados here in VB...thankfully they where a mile away from where I live, however winds like that and torential rain cause such havoc for everyone...Yes it is normal not to see anything with winds reaching 100 mph with wind and debris everywhere!!!

Brooklyn is not use to seeing weather like that!!! I hope that the damage will be minimal for you and your neighbors.
Did your palms and other plants make it through ok?

TZ..Did you make it through alright?

I hope everyone up north in the NY, NJ area is alright!!

Please let us know how you all are doing...

Take care everyone,

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 2:25PM
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Bamatufa(7 - Trussville, AL)

It made the news way down here.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 2:58PM
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The storm was really terrible. I checked and saw we were under a tornado warning and to seek shelter immediately, but before I even tried to do that, I saw a HUGE wall of rain only a few houses down. A few seconds later it passed right over us and you could not see ANYTHING outside! I looked out the window (probably not the best thing to do with winds gusting past 60 mph), and saw all the plants bending in the wind. The plumeria was bouncing up and down like crazy and I probably would have lost some stems on it if I did have a few things weighing it down. The power did go out here almost immediately after the storm began and the lightning was very severe. The power stayed off for only about 1 or 2 hours so at least we had lights again when it was dark outside. Fortunately there was no damage to the yard or house, but there was damage to trees and powerlines very nearby. Some roads are lined with newspapers and debris today (more than usual!!) It was a very bad storm with a tornado possibly on Staten island and Brooklyn. I took a short vid a few minutes after the worst of the storm hit with my phone which was still pretty impressive since the cannas were bending a lot, but it was nothing compared to the beginning of the storm.
Greg, Im not sure if what we experienced was a tornado. It might have been a microburst or just a very strong cell of storms, but usually tornadoes arent that wide. Its likely that if there was a tornado it was wrapped in rain and not visible so they can only determine if it was a tornado by the pattern in which the debris fell. Im not sure if they announced YET if there was truly a tornado (or several) with this storm, but it did cause lots damage in only about 10 minutes so no matter what, it was a very severe storm. The storm was definitely the talk of everyone (including the media) today!
Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 3:57PM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Thanks Laura,

Our house was spared anything major and I am grateful for that. Huge 100 pound planters with plants in them much like the one you have you agave planted in were tossed around like toys. Millions of pieces of trees all over and parts of roof.

If my palms were larger it would have been more interesting to see how they did. They were tossed around a lot but are designed for high winds. Plus my palms are in a garden that is sheltered as a court yard which made such forceful winds a surprise. Thanks for the tip that 100 mph driven rain causes a white-out effect.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 4:36PM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Hi ALex,

Glad you survived:)

100+ mph Wind carrying roofs, trees 100 feet down the street is really a tornado level damage and plus we were in a tornado warning. The damage is too extensive. I had a huge flower pot lifted off my deck and set down in the strangest place without damaging it?

No matter how you weighed your plumeria down, if you were here in Park Slope, it would have snapped all the stems and tossed the pot 100 feet. We lost huge store signs, street lights, roof tops, cars and giant street signs and trees by the hundreds in our neighborhood alone. Y-tube has some cool videos of it, but nothing like what we saw.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 4:53PM
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Usually tornados dont bring as much widespread damage, but I definitely think that there is a good possibility that you got a tornado, it just usually takes a little while for it to become official. The wind was blowing very strong here, but not that much was thrown around in my immediate neighborhood. Some scattered parts of the neighborhood had some large trees downed, but we didnt get it as badly as park slope. The situation was similar though since we did have a time that lasted about 1 or 2 minutes where you saw absolutely NOTHING outside. I think park slope received some of the worst damage which is why they are thinking a tornado is to blame. The amount of trees and signs down was crazy in Park Slope! Glad that you and your plants made it out of the storm okay!
Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 5:15PM
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butiaman(8a Douglasville,GA.)

I'm glad you all made it through with your life.Material things can be replaced,but a life cant.I've been through 3 tornadoes here.One hit my house in 1999,but did no damage to either house on both sides of me.It picked up our house and moved it back 6 ft off the foundation,with us in it.Then it jumped across the railroad tracks and hit the congregation hall of 2ND Baptist Church,it didn't even touch the church itself.They have a tendency to follow the rail road tracks for some reason.I looked out the window and it was raining from left to right(horizontally),and I saw a metal chair go flying by about 20ft in the air.When it was over,to show you how strong the winds were blowing there was a 2x4 stuck through the trunk of a huge oak three.There was metal roofing in the top of 200yr old Oaks,and there is no houses or business around here with metal roofing.We lost a lot of material possessions but we still had our lifes.God protected us from that house collapsing on us.It's something I will never forget,and yes Greg they do sound like a train.I'm glad you all made it through ok :)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 8:42PM
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Butiaman, Im glad you made it through that! Its really hard to lose so many material possessions but at least you can move on knowing that everyone made it out safe. Its not easy to replace some material possessions, but you can never replace family or friends!
Thats a really scary situation and proves the power of tornadoes but also the randomness of them. Half the block can be wiped out and the other half undamaged.
Speaking of tornadoes...

There were OFFICIALLY 2 tornadoes in NYC on Thursday. One was an EF-0 in Park slope, Brooklyn which brought winds of 80 mph with a path of about 2 miles and another was an EF-1 tornado in Queens that brought winds of around 100 mph. Some straight-line winds were reported to have reached gusts of 125 mph in some areas of NYC with winds over 75 mph being reported in quite a few areas around NYC. A funnel cloud was apparently seen over Staten island, but I didnt hear any official reports about if that was confirmed yet or not and if it touched down. People always say that September is such a quiet month for weather, but that didnt seem to be the case this week! New York City has very few tornadoes so to have 2 in one day is a really big deal. It seems like tornadoes have been more common here lately occuring about once every year or 2. Fortunately the tornadoes werent strong, but there was still quite a bit of damage so I hope that every thing recovers well!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 11:45PM
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butiaman(8a Douglasville,GA.)

That was the strange thing about this whole thing.I've never heard of a tornado in NYC myself,but 2.Some material things have big sentimental value.We lost most of our pictures of our family through the years(the family album).Things like that cant be replaced.As I'm writing this there showing about the tornadoes on the news here.That's why I don't have any big trees in my yard,they were destroyed by one of the three tornadoes that have hit here.I've had to rebuild my landscape 3 times.It gets old starting over again and again and again.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 7:23AM
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Pictures and antiques passed down, are very painful to lose. Those things cant be replaced unfortunately. I cant believe you have been hit by 3 tornadoes! I can see why you wouldnt bother planting large trees. I knew that Georgia can get some severe storms, but I never knew tornadoes were such a threat in some areas. How often have you been hit by a tornado?
One thing I will add about the NYC tornadoes is that none of them directly hit the city. I actually have never heard of a tornado directly hitting manhattan island. Tornadoes are rare anywhere near NYC, but when they do occur, they always miss the heart of the city (fortunately!). I feel that we still cant predict thunderstorms well at all. They werent even expecting severe storms in the area, but this last thunderstorm was certainly more severe than any thunderstorm the area has seen in a while.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 11:41AM
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butiaman(8a Douglasville,GA.)

The first tornado to hit here was somewhere between 1978 and 1980.I was 12 or 13 yrs old,somewhere around there.That tornado didn't hit the house but the winds from it ripped flowers and bushes out of the ground.The flying deebree destroyed the rest of the yard.We had minor damage to the house,just a few busted windows and holes in the siding and damage to both cars from flying deebree.The second one was spun off hurricane Opel.It hit the coast around Panama city and came straight up through here.We had wind gust of 75 miles an hour.It took down I don't know how many Oak Trees all the way down my street.My whole street use to be lined with 100yr to 150yr old Oaks.My street runs parallel with HWY 78 and the Rail Road Tracks through town.It ripped just about all the shingles and siding off the house.I had a flower bed running beside my driveway with miniature roses in it and It pulled them out of the ground,rock mulch and edging also.I use to have a 40ft Bradford Pear tree in the middle of my front yard.Lighting hit it during the storm and split it down the middle,I had to cut it down because It would have eventually fell on my house.Plus the tornadoe ripped it up pretty bad.That storm shredded almost all the other plants in my yard just from the speed of the wind.Then the one hit in 1999 on a good Friday at 7:30am.That's the one I told you about this morning.It actually hit my house,it threw my car 75ft down the street,it landed on the rail road tracks.My wife's car was turned upside down in my neighbors yard.Plus all the damage it did to the house(it got condemned).The first palm I had ever bought was a Windmill Palm,I remember paying 75 dollars for it,it was 5ft tall fronds and all.It ripped all the fronds off it and the wind was so strong it snapped it in half ): It looked like a bomb had exploded in my yard,everything was toast.I only have one plant left that made it through all three tornadoes,it's a weeping Japaneses Maple.It's my pride and joy.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 6:33PM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Hi Butia and Alex,

Thanks for sharing the info. I believe God protected us as well. Material things come and go. Not having much damage made its easier for us as well. The reports were saying it was a F-0 tornado with 85 mph winds. I know one thing for sure and its that the winds that peeled off an entire roof by me had to be 100+ mph to carry it a block away and other 2 x 6 planks ripped from the roof cornices and blown a block away takes more than 85 mph. But, at least they acknowledged it was a tornado. In some open areas 100% of trees were damaged. I suspect tornados perfer train tracks for the same reason some of this tornado was worse along the Prospect Expressway in Brooklyn. Open areas permit it to grow and intensify quickly when conditions are optiminal.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 11:14AM
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NoVaPlantGuy_Z7b_8a(Alexandria, VA 7B/8A)

That is pretty amazing! Were no stranger to tornadoes here in the DC area, as we usually have a few. Ive actually SEEN two in real life here, and one way down in central VA. One of the ones I saw here passed about 2,000 feet from where I lived on the 14th floor. I watched the whole thing and saw the damage occuring. It was an EF0 when it passed us, and lifted and touched down a few times in Northern VA, Crossing interstate 395 twice and touching down next to the Pentagon, and passed the Washington Monument just above the ground. As it moved NE is turned into a monster EF4 and killed several people in College Park MD. THis was back in 2001 or 2002 I think. We have had a few EF4s here, but most are EF0 or 1s.

We got hit be severe weather several times this summer, and my neighborhood got the worst storm of the summer. We took a direct hit. It was a microburst, with winds around 110MPH. IT was as was described here... a wall of rain and everything turned white like blowing snow. It ripped up around 1000 trees in our neighborhood, partially ripped off roofs, blew off several Chimneys, destroyed several large signs for businesses, blew out several large windows including that of our post office, ripped shingles and siding off of most houses including ours, bent METAL LIGHT POLES at a 90 degree angle, crushed about 150 cars, and killed 1 person. You name it it happened and people were finding property blown several blocks away. Many of my friends here took extensive damage. It literally looked like a BOMB had gone off here, and it sounded like a freight train when it went through. It only lasted about 5 minutes or so, and the gusts to 110 was only about 30 seconds, but man it was insane. This was easily a quarter century storm.

I saw the PURPLE coming right for me on the radar, and we were under a severe warning for damaging winds of 80+. no one was expecting the 110+ MPH winds tho. I was outside trying my best to secure things, take down the umbrella, pile up the chairs, take the glass out of the coffee table, bring in the cushions.. etc. I heard the first gust coming and it sounded like a train coming. I could see debris and dust in the air about 30 seconds before hit hit. It was probably about 65 MPH. It was a dry gust before the rains. Then the rains started and each subsequent gust was stronger and stronger until the big one came. I would have gone in the basement but the only way in there is to go outside so I was stuck on the ground floor. I moved to the side of the house(front) that was not facing the winds and could see peices of siding and roof shingles and large tree branches flying through the air. The house shook like an earthquake and creaked. I was pretty damn scared because you couldnt see much. Fortunately the sudden wind direction change never came, and after 5 minutes of hell, it was over. No power, sirens going off all over, EVERY street blocked. Could not drive anywhere. It blew all fo my plants flat over, as well as all the furniture, and picked up a 200 pound shed and tossed it 30 feet like a toy. The yard was filled with 20+ foot branches but fortunately no entire trees came down right near me. Everywhere else was a different story. Every other house had a tree on it. The official wind gust recorded at National Airport 1 mile away was 74MPH, however they were not in the direct path of the microburst. The winds were estimated at about 105-115. I have been through a CAT 2 hurricane before, and this was IDENTICAL to what I experienced in that.

Glad to hear you took no damage. Some how, none of our furniture nor plants got damaged. the only thing damaged was a couple of clay pots which were lifted and thrown. The plants (Bananas) in them were fine. The only other damage was some siding and shingles ripped off the roof, but that was it. We got VERY lucky because many right around us within 20 blocks got extensive damage. There are sections of our neighborhood now that look completely different. Where once the trees and yards were filled with 100 year old trees, there are very few left standing and it is very "open" looking now.

Thanks for the story and sharing this with us. Its been a pretty violent summer for lots of people in lots of different places for sure.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 5:02PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone,

Great stories...

Sounds like everyone has had an interesting summer as well as an active past winter...wonder whats going to happen this fall?

Hopefully we will see an indian summer...and no more crazy active storm cells, but something tells me I'm asking for a little to much.

I remember that tornado that hit up in i recall it leveled parts of LaPlata Md....unbelievable weather!!!

Thanks for the stories everyone...glad you made it throught without damage Greg. are one lucky man!!! What a story...the Jap. Maple must be your pride and joy!!!

Ken...Did you live in old town then? Thanks for the great stories!!!

Take care everyone,

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 8:36PM
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NoVaPlantGuy_Z7b_8a(Alexandria, VA 7B/8A)


Yes I lived in Old Town then too, although not in the same place. The tornado that leveled LaPlata, MD was a DIFFERENT EF4 Tornado than the one that ripped through College Park. I think they happened in different years as well. The one that hit LaPlata, MD did not come through Alexandria, but the one that ripped up College Park, MD and killed a few people not only came through Alexandria, but was the one I SAW. It was only an EF0 or 1 here, but it grew into a monster after it crossed the river.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 9:18AM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Thanks for sharing those storm stories Nova. I recall the MD tornado years ago and it was the sheer shock of it. People were going to a KFC and were almost killed clinging to the floor as cars were being tossed around.

Sometimes when I see wind speeds listed they are so inaccurate with reality. When a hurricane passess off our shore and grazes Brooklyn, we see winds about 30-6o mph. Meanwhile the weather channel reports winds at 15 mph. I notice this just about everyone hurricane season. A friend in NC may be seeing high winds and rain at the coast and the weather channel reports winds are 16

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 2:03PM
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