Strong winds cause some damage

An Eyewitness News viewer sent in this photo of a tree down on a car on Saturday, May 9, 2010

December 15, 2010 11:14:08 AM PST
The wind has been kicking all day.

A chorus of rustling leaves in the crisp air brings an appreciation for Mother Nature, and a reminder of how destructive she can also be.

"I was sitting on my porch and I looked and it just went, and then you just heard like a loud bang," Jose Elias said.

On 114th Street in Richmond Hills, a tree uprooted and fell on the three story home of the Mendez family around 6:30 Saturday evening.

"I was in my room, I thought it was an earthquake. I was really scared," said Nancy Mendez.

It didn't go through the walls, only damaging the porch and the windows.

"The signal isn't that nice -- the Direct TV -- but they said it's gonna be okay," Mendez said.

And now her neighbors on this tree lined block are nervous.

"My father told me to move my car because that tree looks like it's going down next," Elias said.

Earlier on Saturday near 107th Avenue and 135th Street in Queens, wind snapped off big branches that started a fire.

"I came running up here. And they're telling me a tree fell on the wire, the wire was burning and one piece flew over here and set that on fire," Charles Lucas explained.

It was a small fire and quickly brought under control.

"It would have burned the house down," Lucas said.

Across Queens, broken branches clipped power lines and kept ConEd workers on their toes.

On 111th Avenue and 133rd Street, peeled back bark like a potato blocked the roadway.

And on 78th Street and 90 Road, another tree went down, gently falling between two parked cars.

The wind has not only brought down dozens of trees across the area, but it is also causing other problems. In Manhattan, the Buildings Department wants all debris and loose materials tied down at construction sites. Some debris did fall from a building on 57th Street and Broadway.

The high winds swept one woman out to sea when she was swimming in Brooklyn. The gusts and the currents carried her out to the rocks, several yards from the Brighton Beach shoreline. Firefighters and police had to rescue the woman. She was taken to a nearby hospital. We are told her injuries are minor.

There are scattered power outages on Long Island and in New Jersey.

The wind also fueled a brush fire that burned 250 acres in southern New Jersey and continued into the night.

Smoke from the fire in Pemberton Township forced officials to shut down a four-mile stretch of Route 70 for several hours Saturday. It wasn't known when the highway would reopen.