By Dylan Campbell
Brooklyn has its Cyclone, but Queens has a twister.
A night of heavy rain storms turned destructive as a rare tornado ripped through College Point Thursday night, tearing down trees and damaging homes, the National Weather Service confirmed Friday morning.
Queens residents’ phones began buzzing around 10:20 p.m. with a unique warning: “Seek shelter as tornado conditions roll in.”
Minutes later, the tornado touched ground on 14th Avenue near Saint Fidelis Catholic Church. According to NWS, the tornado traveled along a path just short of a mile. The twister’s 70-85 mile per hour winds tearing down electrical wires, sucking the siding off houses and ripping down trees.
The 100-yard wide funnel cloud grew in strength as it moved toward Powell’s Cove Park where it tore through the wooded wetland, downing 50 trees.
“Following last night’s storm, Powell’s Cove suffered significant tree damage,” a Parks Department spokesperson told the Eagle. “At this time, we estimate about 30 downed trees. Our forestry team will be working over the weekend to conduct an inspection and assess the damage.”
According to the NWS, the tornado next moved along the southern shoreline of the cove and dissipated over the eastern end of the park before 138th street.
Additional wind damage continued in a straight line eastward to Francis Lewis Park near the Whitestone Bridge.
While some residents took to social media to say they heard or saw nothing, others feared for their safety as the damage neared their homes. When the storm passed, downed trees covered the streets and electrical wires crackled in the rain.
No injuries or deaths have been reported as of press time.
A tornado warning was issued for parts of Queens, the Bronx and Long Island at 10:20 p.m. Thursday. It was cancelled 25 minutes later. It was the first tornado in Queens in more than five years.