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Tornado Confirmed After Severe Weather Downs Trees, Power Lines In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The National Weather Service said Thursday night's severe weather included a tornado in the College Point neighborhood of Queens.

The twister was confirmed as an EF0 tornado, the weakest measurable confirmed strength.

The tornado is believed to have touched down near 124th Street and 15th Avenue and traveled about nine blocks on the ground, about three-fourths of a mile.

"We are seeing some signs on some of the buildings and infrastructure too that would point to a good 75 mph tornado," Ross Dickman with the National Weather Service told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis. "Last time we did tornado surveys was about five years ago so its very infrequent, very uncommon."

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning after 10 p.m. Thursday. The storm that followed shook the area.

"It was a succession. It felt like explosion," said College Point resident George Mondejar. "I guess that was the transformers going or something -- just boom, boom, boom."

Neighbors Friday woke up to power outages, roads blocked off and downed trees.

"Just shocking, shocking. You don't expect that," said Monejar.

Bill Hermel checked out what came crashing through his College Point property.

"Around 10:30, my whole house shook," he said. "I woke up and was like, what the heck was that?"

Walking outside, he found a tree toppled over his garage.

"When I came out and saw this, I said man a tornado had to come through," he said.

In the Powell's Cove Park area, more than 50 trees were blown down and park was deemed impassable.

PHOTOS: Viewer Lisa Puccio Shares Images Of Downed Trees Around Whitestone, Queens

A two-mile stretch of College Point to Whitestone took the brunt of the damage, however there were reports elsewhere. In Jackson Heights, pictures of downed trees were taken near 86th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

One fell onto Keum Kim's property. Since it was on a sidewalk, it belongs to New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation.

Kim said he's called 311 for five years and in June sent a letter to the parks department warning the tree was "creating a dangerous condition."

"All the time, I keep calling, calling. They say, 'OK, I'm coming.' They never coming," he said.

The parks department does not allow homeowners to touch trees unless they apply for a special permit. A neighbor down the block did that a few years ago, only to spend thousands of dollars from his own pocket to cut branches off a tree due to safety concerns.

State Sen. Tony Avella hopes the city acts fast to clean up the destruction. Just last month, CBS2 got action on damaged sidewalks untouched from storms since March.

"Is this going to take five months? It's a safety hazard now," said Avella. "They should be out next week removing the stump and immediately hiring a contractor to fix the sidewalk."

A tornado is an unusual occurrence in for the New York City area and neighbors are hoping it stays that way.

"As long as everybody is OK, that's my main concern and hopefully we'll never see this happen again," said resident Richard Lovdahl.

While the same storm passed over New Jersey, thousands were forced to shelter at MetLife Stadium during a Beyoncé concert.

The parks department said crews will be working diligently over the weekend to continue tornado cleanup.

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