Thursday, August 9, 2007
During heavy rainstorms that flooded rail lines and subways, a tornado touched down in New York City, the National Weather Service reports. It sustained winds around 111 mph to 135 mph, causing damage to buildings and vehicles. Starting from the Bay Ridge area, the tornado continued for two miles through Brooklyn. At least one person was killed.
The roof of a Nissan dealership had been ripped off, as was that of a Brooklyn church. At least 16 homes were damaged.
Torrential rain had drenched the region early Wednesday, causing delays at Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia airports. Wind and rain caused major slowdowns in the mass transit lines, virtually halting services. The brunt of the storm struck the city during morning rush hour, a time when hundreds of thousands of vehicles and people are in transit to work. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that in some flooded subways, police resorted to crowd control tactics to stop rioting.
Trees were torn from the ground and some cars were crushed.
In a damage assessment tour of Brooklyn, Mayor Michael Bloomberg remarked, “I don’t know that God had rush hour in mind when the storms hit.”
The Metropolitan Transit Authority expects service to return to normal by Thursday. At a press conference MTA chairman Elliot “Lee” Sander said the pumps located citywide in the rail and subway lines are adequate to handle 1.5 inches of rain per hour. He said the rain, however, came “too fast and with little warning.”
“The storm took us by surprise because it was not predicted by the National Weather Service.”