Dangerous weather conditions made their way across the northeast over the weekend, as New York City saw rare tornadoes, and tens of thousands were left without power in the wake of a violent storm in Washington D.C. Some New England areas saw heavy flooding as a result of the somewhat unexpected storm. In New York, no serious injuries were reported after a tornado struck the beachfront neighborhood of Breezy Point on the outer edge of New York City. A stronger tornado would hit just 10 miles away moments later. Though a tornado warning had been put into effect, such a wind storm is a rare occurrence in the metropolitan area.
“I was showing videos of tornadoes to my 4-year-old on my phone, and two minutes later, it hit,” Breezy Point resident Peter Maloney told USA Today. “Just like they always say, it sounded like a train.”
Winds of up to 70 mph were reported up and down the Eastern Seaboard, with reports of tornado like funnels coming from as far down as Fairfax, Virginia. The sudden shift in weather was the result of a cold front passing over the region. Storms left some 15,000 people in northern Virginia without power on Sunday morning, according to Dominion Virginia Power, along with over 5,000 in D.C. and the lower Maryland counties of Prince George and Montgomery.
Back in New York, bystanders recorded the beginnings of the funnels that would eventually build into the larger tornadoes, as they picked up water, sand, and eventually damaged pieces of buildings. The tornado that touched down in Breezy Point tore up the Breezy Point Surf Club in Queens, carrying a propane tank and several chairs, and ripping the roofs of rows of cabanas.
“It picked up picnic benches. It picked up Dumpsters,” said the club’s general manager, Thomas Sullivan.
The second tornado landed in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood, causing property damage there as well. By Sunday the storm was reported as having passed through the northeast out to sea, having done its worst.