PHOTOS: Tornadoes Ransacked Brooklyn, Queens in 2010

By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer
September 17, 2013; 5:00 AM ET
Share |
The base of a tree lies on top of a crushed car in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010. The NWS has determined that two tornadoes ripped through NYC Thursday during a fast-moving storm, along with a fierce microburst with speeds up to 125 mph. The city estimates more than 1,000 trees were destroyed and dozens of buildings damaged. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

On Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010, a system brewing over New Jersey tracked east across New York City, Long Island and Connecticut and dropped two tornadoes on the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

The first tornado, rated an EF-0 by the National Weather Service (NWS), was on the ground for 2 miles near Park Slope in the borough of Brooklyn. The second tornado tracked for 4 miles through Queens County near Flushing and Bayside.

A macro burst and straight-line winds were also confirmed. Winds gusted to 125 mph in an 8-mile stretch, up to 5 miles wide, the NWS report stated.

Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service.

The unusual event killed one and injured many. Trees and power lines were downed in roadways and on cars throughout the boroughs.

RELATED: Severe Weather Center
New York City Radar
Radar, Videos, Hoaxes: Another NYC Tornado, Or Not?

"What this all adds up to is that the majority of NYC residents did not see a tornado, but a large portion of the local population was affected by straight-line winds which had the equivalent speeds of an EF-2 tornado," Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell wrote on his WeatherMatrix blog the day the NWS confirmed the events.

Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service.

The NWS confirmation was made despite a slew of hoax photos and videos circulating on social media.

"I was a little surprised to see them confirmed, but that just goes to show that they can be obscured by rain and it can take a thorough storm scene investigation to ferret out the root causes of severe weather damage," Ferrell said.

Image courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Though rare, tornadoes in New York City are not unprecedented. Nearly one dozen have occurred in New York City since 1985, according to the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

Most recently, on Sept. 8, 2012, a waterspout came onshore as an EF-0 in Rockaway Beach, before becoming an EF-1 in Brooklyn and causing significant damage in Canarsie.

Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Jillian MacMath at, follow her on Twitter @Accu_Jillian or Google+. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.


Comments left here should adhere to the Community Guidelines. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

  Extreme Location
High N/A
Low N/A
Precip N/A


This Day In Weather History

Pond, AR (1905)
-29 deg.; record low for state.

Lebanon, KS (1905)
-40 deg.; record low for state.

Warsaw, MO (1905)
-40 deg.; record low for state.

Rough Weather