NEW YORK, NY: After a particularly strong storm wreaked havoc in several boroughs last night, many residents are left without power and wondering if a tornado was to blame for all the damage. Winds whipped at up to 100 mph while stripping roofs in Brooklyn, uprooting trees and knocking down power lines, and leaving at least one person dead.
Commuter transportation along the Long Island Rail Road was severely affected and crews worked through the night to remove fallen trees from the tracks. Service was suspended temporarily between Manhattan and Jamaica, Queens, and did not resume until 5:00 a.m. Friday morning.
Out of all the boroughs, Queens was hit the worst. More than 30,000 residents were left without power Thursday night, according to Alfonso Quiroz, a spokesman for Consolidated Edison. The tornado in Queens killed a woman, Iline Levakis, 30, when a tree fell on a parked car. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Residents were stunned by the storm’s force. Steve Carlisle, 54, recounts the ordeal:
A huge tree limb, like 25 feet long, flew right up the street, up the hill and stopped in the middle of the air 50 feet up in this intersection and started spinning. It was like a poltergeist.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg commented after the storm as well, “The good news is that most people were safe, just annoyed — traffic being bad or a tree coming down in their yard.”
Was this a tornado or not? The National Weather Service sent investigators to determine if a tornado was to blame for the damage. The verdict is not in yet.