Twisted trees and downed power lines littered the streets of the Bronx and Long Island this morning after strong storms that broke a lengthy heat wave ripped through the region Sunday afternoon, bringing cooler weather but leaving scores without power.
And on Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service confirmed what many Bronx residents already believed: A tornado touched down in the Riverdale neighborhood on Sunday.
Officials said the twister struck at approximately 2:50 to 3 p.m., and cut a swath 100 yards wide and 0.6 miles long. The maximum wind speeds were around 100 mph, according to the weather service. No fatalities were reported, but there were six minor injuries at a nursing home due to flying glass.
Meanwhile on Monday, several hundred customers in the Bronx were still without power. And the Long Island Power Authority said 12,168 of its customers were without power, and Con Edison said 2,293 households in the Bronx were without power.
A boat and helicopter search is continuing for a man who fell off his sailboat in the Long Island Sound during a sudden squall Sunday. The 30-year-old man was training on a 23-foot-long sailboat near Larchmont when the squall hit.
The Long Island Rail Road experienced a few minor delays this morning after debris on the tracks forced a shut down of service last night.
In West Babylon, firefighters and power crews got so many calls they couldn't help but wonder if a tornado had blown through.
"It looked to me almost like a tornado," said West Babylon Assistant Fire Chief Jim Campbell. He didn't see an actual funnel cloud, but he said the damage was tornado-like.
"You had a lot of debris high up in the air spinning. And I actually was at a back yard barbecue and the awnings, the tents all blew away, and the damage to the trees are all twisted so it was definitely tremendous tremendous swirling winds."
It was a similar story all over West Babylon, Babylon, Melville and Central Islip. The roof blew off the K and M Auto Body Repair Shop on Edison Avenue in West Babylon and went right into the nearby All American Deli. The damage was so severe they had to close for the day.
On Heathcote avenue the Thomas family nearly escaped injury and severe damage to their home after tree came tumbling down in their front yard. It just missed the house and their SUV parked in the driveway.
"Me and my husband were sleeping and all of a sudden I heard boom," said Saman Thomas who stood marveling at the destruction with her 8 year old daughter Jenna by her side.
"She was just like mommy, mommy the tree fell down."
As is usually the case, down trees mean down power lines and widespread power outages. Police guarded intersections where traffic lights were on the fritz.
The Infinity Diner on Route 109 had to send customers home. Hostess Seda Darendeoglu said the diner was losing business and the waitress' were losing valuable tips. "The ice cream's melting, the milks going bad, there's no coffee."
Luckily the lights the air conditioning and the refrigerators all came back on within enough time to salvage some of the dinner rush.
"I was shaking like a leaf," said Lela Evancho from Maywood, New Jersey.
The strong gusts toppled a tree onto her home.
In Jackson Heights, Queens a tree toppled onto a car. The driver ended up hurt and had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment.