NWS: Tornado struck the Bronx

December 15, 2010 10:52:54 AM PST
The National Weather Service says a tornado caused all of that damage in the Bronx.It's only the second tornado since 1950 to strike the Bronx. That last one happened on September 2, 1974. The NWS classified Sunday's tornado as EF with winds near 100 mph. It was about a football field wide and traveled a little over a half-mile.

Residents in Riverdale were out the sawing and cleaning up on Monday.

"I think it was a tornado. I mean I never seen anything like this," resident Charlie Hubi said before the official word came from the NWS.

"I have no doubt in my mind that it was a tornado. I saw the tornado. I think it was a tornado," Celeste Mittman said.

The damage is impressive.

Huge trees snapped like twigs. Power poles and lines are tilted and hanging.

Homeowners here were still stunned by the intensity of the brief, but fierce storm.

"It was like ka-boom," Wyldon Fishman said.

"Murderous. Such violence to the trees and, fortunately, not much home damage that I have encountered," Stuart Boynton said.

At the Hebrew Home at Riverdale along Palisades Avenue, the CEO estimates they lost several dozen trees, but says considering the storm's intensity, they may have gotten off easy.

"The skies turned black, the wind kicked up within a matter of 5 minutes you see the damage that was done here. We're just grateful that nobody was severely injured or killed," Dan Reingold said.

On Long Island, power outages remained Monday, thanks to huge branches that came down on top of power lines. The damage from the storms were widespread, and they hit hard and fast.

In West Babylon, it brought a walnut tree down in the Malhayno family's backyard, right where their kids had been playing moments before.

"It was a close one," a young Malhayno family member said. "As soon as we closed the door...we heard a boom and the tree hit the ground."

Nearby, the roof of a building was stripped off and sent hurtling into a body shop.

Piles of crumpled trees and power lines blocked the tracks in Melville, shutting down service on the Ronkonkoma branch of the Long Island Rail Road.

In Queens, a large branch crashed the sunroof of a car parked on 80th Street in Jackson Heights. Thankfully, no one was inside.

But despite the problems they caused, the storms were welcomed by many residents because they ended a brutal four-day heat wave.