September 9, 2012 - 14:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A pair of tornadoes touched down in New York City Saturday, Sept 8, hurling debris in the air, knocking out power and startling residents who once thought of twisters as a Midwestern phenomenon, FoxNews reported.
Videos taken by bystanders showed a funnel cloud sucking up water, then sand, and then small pieces of buildings, as the first tornado swept out of the sea and moved through the beachfront Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens.
Residents had advance notice. The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for Queens and Brooklyn at around 10:40 am. The storm took people by surprise anyway when it struck about 30 minutes later.
The National Weather Service confirmed Saturday evening that a second tornado hit the Canarsie neighborhood in Brooklyn around 11:30 am, but traveled only half a mile and caused no injuries.
The tornadoes 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.
Tornadoes were once exceedingly rare in New York, but they have occurred with regularity in recent years. A small tornado uprooted trees on Long Island last month. In 2010, a September storm spawned two tornadoes that knocked down thousands of trees and blew off a few rooftops in Brooklyn and Queens. A small tornado struck the same year in the Bronx. In 2007, a more powerful tornado damaged homes in Brooklyn and Staten Island.