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Two Tornadoes Touch Down In Breezy Point, Canarsie

Updated Sept. 9, 2012 10:40 a.m.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Cleanup is under way after a pair of powerful, funnel-shaped clouds landed in New York City on Saturday.

The first tornado swept out of the sea and hit a beachfront neighborhood and the second, stronger twister hit moments later, hurling debris in the air, knocking out power and startling residents who once thought of twisters as a Midwestern phenomenon.

Videos taken by bystanders showed a funnel cloud sucking up water, then sand, and then small pieces of buildings, as the first moved through the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens.

The second hit west, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn also near the water, about seven minutes later. The National Weather Service said winds were up to 110 miles per hour, and several homes and trees were damaged.

See Photos Of The Storm | Submit Your Pictures | Check Weather

WCBS 880's Monica Miller reports 


Con Ed reported more than 1,000 outages across Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

Tornado over Breezy Point courtesy Joe FitzGerald/YouTube

Tornado over Breezy Point crossing into Brooklyn NY by Joe FitzGerald on YouTube

The NWS had said earlier that radar detected a "strong rotation" in the storm.

Residents had advance notice. The weather service had issued a tornado warning for Queens and Brooklyn at around 10:40 a.m. The storm took people by surprise anyway when it struck about 20 minutes later.

"I was showing videos of tornadoes to my 4-year-old on my phone, and two minutes later, it hit," said Breezy Point neighborhood resident Peter Maloney. "Just like they always say, it sounded like a train."

In the storm's wake, the community of seaside bungalows was littered with broken flower pots, knocked-down fences and smashed windows.

Joan Washington said she was in her car when the sky suddenly got dark, the wind picked up and it howled like a freight train down Rockaway Point Boulevard.

"As I pulled up, I saw this vehicle -- the two rear tires went up in the air," she told 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg. "They crashed down into the car next to it, and one of those chimney pipes blew over right through the air like 'The Wizard of Oz.'"

1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports 


Jim Brady told CBS 2's Dick Brennan that he was shutting down his cabana for the summer at the Breezy Point Surf Club when he had his brush with a tornado.

"I just crawled into a ball and said 'go by, go by, go by,' and it went by,'" Brady said.

Experts told 1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten that trees and debris in the area showed clear signs of tornado damage.

"We've looked at some of the damage, we see damage to some of the cabanas. There are trees that have clearly been twisted and shaved," said Joe Bruno, Director of the NYC Office of Emergency Management.

Video below shows tornado in Breezy Point courtesy Roy Currlin.

Breezy Point, NY tornado 9-08-12 by Roy Currlin on YouTube

The U.S. Open postponed the women's singles final until Sunday as a result of the severe weather.

The tornado that touched down in Canarsie was the strongest one of the day. CBS 2's Elise Finch spoke with residents who were assessing the damage.

"I opened the door and everything was downed, trees, everything," said Norma Cammarata.

1010 WINS ' Gary Baumgarten in Canarsie


The roof of Bob O'Hara's cabana was torn off, leaving tubes of sunscreen, broken beer bottles and an old TV set exposed to the elements.

"We got a new sunroof," said O'Hara, who has spent summer weekends at the Breezy Point club for his entire 52 years. "The TV was getting thrown out anyway," he added.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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