Alert issued 9/16/10 at 5:40 PM The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning until 6PM in Queens. Immediately go indoors and/or to the lowest floor of your building for shelter. Stay away from windows.Later this afternoon, investigators from the National Weather Service will determine if a tornado, or more than one tornado, actually touched down in the city.
When I left the house yesterday a little after 5 PM to head into Manhattan to meet my wife for dinner, there was an overcast sky with a low cloud ceiling but no wind or rain. I knew the weather forecast included a chance of thunderstorms but I had no idea what was in store.
By the time I arrived at the elevated “M” platform on Forest Avenue, ¼ mile from home, I could hear thunder in the distance.
Between the Forest Avenue Station and the Williamsburg Bridge, I started seeing numerous cloud to ground lightning strikes over Manhattan and to the north. Then the rain started, heavy rain, wind-driven blowing sideways rain, accompanied by pea-sized hail. The sky had become so dark and the rain was blowing so hard that I could no longer see outside the windows of the subway car.
Once home, we made a quick survey of the house, inside and out, and determined that all was well. This morning, however, I dsicovered that a four fot long branch with a trunk diameter of an inch or two fell from the tree in our back yard into our back yard, but that is nothing compared to what I saw as I walked the dog.
AsI was walking Myrrhlyn this morning, I was struck by the stark contrast between the number of downed trees and broken limbs on Fresh Pond Road, especially near the “M” station, compared to apparent lack of downed tree and scan fallen branches along the other three streets we walked. At one point along our walk, I had to detour out into the street because a large broken and fallen branch blocked the entire sidewalk (photos above right).
A little over three years ago, soon after we moved to New York, a tornado touched down in Brooklyn. Like many other New Yorkers, I am waiting to find out if last night one touched down in Queens.