A fast-moving storm packing winds of up to 100 mph ripped through the city Thursday, knocking down trees and power lines, snarling traffic, tearing off roofs and leaving one person dead. Send your videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A short but violent tornado-like storm swept through New York City and parts of New Jersey on Thursday evening, uprooting trees and damaging cars and causing at least one fatality, overturned trees, widespread property damage and power outages.
The evening storm walloped Brooklyn and Queens knocking down trees and sending residents scrambling as the skies darkened and 70-mile-per-hour winds howled. The storm hit just after 5 p.m., when the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Staten Island. Shortly afterward, warnings were issued for Brooklyn and Queens. Video of what appears to be a funnel cloud was filmed over Perth Amboy.
Sideways rain, black clouds and fierce howling winds caused major damage to Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and parts of Long Island. Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Bushwick in Brooklyn, and Flushing and Ridgewood in Queens seemed to be hit particularly hard.
In the Park Slope, witnesses say the streets went pitch black at about 5:30 p.m. Trees started waving around like leaves of grass. Large branches snapped and hit cars, smashing windshields.
A huge tree limb, like 25 feet long, flew right up the street, up the hill and stopped in the middle of the air 50 feet up in this intersection and started spinning," said Steve Carlisle, 54. "It was like a poltergeist."
"Then all the garbage cans went up in the air and this spinning tree hits one of them like it was a bat on a ball. The can was launched way, way over there," he said, pointing at a building about 120 feet away where a metal garbage can lay flattened.
Townsend Davis, 47, stood outside of his home on Sterling Place in Brooklyn. A 40-foot tree that was uprooted from the sidewalk and crushed two cars still had a sign in the soil around its roots that read "Respect the trees."
"Someone up there wasn't listening," Davis said. "I'm just glad it fell that way, as bad as I feel for the owners of that car, because if it fell this way, my house wouldn't be here."
Davis' children and wife were in the home when the storm hit.
"All of a sudden, we saw this dark cloud, and it was moving. I said 'Let's go in!'" said Stephen Wylie, who was working in a backyard on Quincy Street, in Brooklyn.
Within seconds, the front door started lashing back and forth. Trees branches were falling and trees came flying from other yards, Wylie said.
Yet a few thousand brave souls found a way to make it to CitiField for the Mets game despite the weather. Andy Wells of Staten Island took the Ferry to the 1 Train to the R to 75th Street in Queens, then walked towards the ballpark. For an hour. "They shoudn't have played," he said. "But I got friends inside the stadium. They're my ride home."
Mayor Bloomberg surveyed the damage at 111th St. and 52nd Avenue in Corona and said crews would working overnight to clear the streets. But the mayor said he expected schools to remain open on Friday.
“There have been reports of damage to school buildings," Bloomberg said. "We do expect all schools to be open tomorrow, but we’ll just- as the night goes on, we’ll make sure that everything is safe. "
Lindsay Good, Frank Salamone, John Noel, Hasani Gittens and Tim Minton contributed to this report.