Long Island was under a tornado watchntil 9 p.m. Saturday after a twister touched down on the western tip of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens and reformed even stronger in Brooklyn.
The tornado included New York City, parts of New Jersey up to western Connecticut and Massachusetts. Strong thunderstorms passed over LI without adding a third twister.
LI is still under a rip tide warning at its ocean beaches due to swells generated by Tropical Storm Leslie.
The National Weather Service confirmed a waterspout formed near New York Harbor, went ashore at the Breezy Point Beach Club at 11 a.m. and was an EF0, the weakest on the tornado scale at 70 mph.
The storm reformed as an EF1 tornado with 110 mph winds acrossed the Rockaway Inlet in Canarsie.
Videos taken by bystanders showed a funnel cloud hurling sand and debris in the air, knocking out power and startling residents. There were no reported injuries.
“It was crazy,” said neighborhood resident Joseph Mure, who was in the shower when the storm hit, and went outside to snap a picture of the retreating funnel. “There were a lot of sirens going off. You could see it twisting.”
Fire Department officials said there were power lines down and possibly other damage.
The tornado struck as part of a line of storms that were expected to bring damaging winds, hail, heavy rain and possibly more tornadoes throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Saturday. Across New York state, in Buffalo, strong winds from a broad front of thunderstorms blew roofing off of some buildings and sent bricks falling into the street.
The storm system killed four people, including a child, in Oklahoma on Friday.
Some witnesses were reporting that the wind had been strong enough to lift cars off the pavement.
The twister delayed play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament a few miles away.
A tornado last touched down on LI in Bohemia on Aug. 10.
-With Associated Press