Power Restored to Tornado Slammed Residents: Officials

Monday, Sep 20, 2010  |  Updated 7:11 PM EDT
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National Weather Service official Gary Conte comments on the tornadoes and microburst that struck Brooklyn and Queens

National Weather Service official Gary Conte comments on the tornadoes and microburst that struck Brooklyn and Queens

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All electrical power has now been restored to Con Edison customers affected by last week's storm that spawned two tornadoes and a macroburst in Brooklyn and Queens.

Company spokesman Allan Drury says the last 300 customers, all in Queens, got their power back Sunday evening.

A total of 45,000 customers lost power when the storm struck on Thursday.

Con Edison crews will continue over the next few days to repair remaining storm-related damage to its overhead system. Winds with gusts of up to 125 mph drove trees into power lines, poles and other equipment.

Parks officials have estimated that the storm knocked down as many as 3,000 trees.

One woman died when a tree fell on her car.

The storm system "actually produced two tornadoes," said Gary Conte, the National Weather Service's lead meteorologist in the probe of the storm systems. "One touched down in Brooklyn -- that was the first, a weaker tornado.  That weak tornado touched down in Park Slope, western Brooklyn. The second one touched down in Queens. 

The tornadoes were actually less destructive than the sudden onset of intense winds called a macroburst, the National Weather Service said.  Previously, it was thought the winds resulted in a microburst -- a very localized column of sinking air. Instead, it was a  macroburst -- a larger version -- that hit Middle Village and Forest Hills, Queens.  The marcoburst was about 1-1/2 miles wide at the point of impact, had wind gusts of up to 125 mph, and a 5-mile cone of damage, and traveled about 8 miles, the National Weather Service said.

First, a weaker tornado -- with a maximum wind gusts of 80mph -- touched down on Park Slope, Conte said. That tornado was 75-yards wide, moving northeast, carving a path of destruction that was 2-miles long.

The second tornado -- with wind gusts of up to 100 miles-per-hour -- touched ground about 2.5 south of Flushing, Queens and it also moved northeast, finally rising from the ground and heading out to sea about one mile northeast of Bayside, Conte said.

"It traveled on the ground for about for 4 miles, the average path-width was about 100 yards," Conte said.

The worst damage was caused not by the tornadoes but by an enormous microburst that devastated Middle Village and Forest Hills, Conte said

 "A sudden acceleration of winds coming out from fast-moving storms -- actually produced winds gusts up to 125-miles per hour.  That actual width upon touchdown was on the order of a mile and half wide and the damage path that spread out actually made a cone of up to five-miles wide."

The line of storms went on to ravage westward. At least seven tornadoes were confirmed in Ohio, where storms flipped mobile homes, injured several people and damaged part of an Ohio State University campus. A small tornado also touched down in southern New Jersey, knocking over trees and damaging two houses.

Eight twisters have hit New York City since 1950, the National Weather Service said. The last was in July, a small one that whirled through the Bronx during a thunderstorm that left thousands without power. In 2007, a tornado with winds as high as 135 mph touched down in Staten Island and Brooklyn, where it damaged homes and sucked the roof off a car dealership.

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