Tornados in New York City?
Posted: 18 September 2010 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A New York tornado? Brooklyn, Queens not exempt from major storms.

On Friday, New York was trying to clean up the mess after a wind storm roared through Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, blowing off roofs, downing trees, knocking out power lines, and causing one fatality. Although it’s not clear yet whether it was an actual tornado, meteorologists found one part of the deadly storm with 109 mile per hour winds.

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Posted: 19 September 2010 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yep, two of them. Fortunately not around where I live, but I do have friends in those areas.

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Posted: 19 September 2010 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Wow!! Glad you are safe, and I hope your friends are too!

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Posted: 19 September 2010 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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asanta - 19 September 2010 08:54 AM

Wow!! Glad you are safe, and I hope your friends are too!

Well, in the scheme of things, these were very small tornadoes. I’ve seen the remainders from big ones out in the midwest and these were not in that league. Basically it was high winds and heavy rain for about twenty minutes. A real deluge.

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Posted: 19 September 2010 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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In the midwest, at least they are prepared! I’m not sure where you would go from a highrise, in a more powerful tornado. We have had a few category 1 tornadoes in the Bay Area in the last 10 years. It usually tears off a roof and disappears. I hope never to see a category 2 or 3 here!

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Posted: 19 September 2010 08:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well, I’ve seen tornado weather in the Mid-West and the sky does give warning when conditions are right for a tornado, the cloudy gray sky turns a mossy pale green.  This seems benign and interesting if you don’t realize the power that it warns of.  The TV news reports there are non-stop when the weather is right for tornadoes, called a tornado warning.

In NYC, this storm was predicted on the news, but they made it seem like a simple rainstorm.  And there were no warnings from the sky either.  I was surprised to see the sudden sheets of rain in Manhattan, and the meteorologists on TV seemed surprised at the strength of all of it.  I guess that Brooklyn and Queens took the brunt of it.  The meteorologists where trying to explain the freakish strength of the storm as it passed, but they seem to be guessing.  In the end I heard of record breaking events, two tornadoes and something weaker called a macroburst.  My people should be okay.

I wonder why Manhattan got it so easy when all around there was such damage?  Could the tall buildings have weakened the storm a bit?

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Posted: 19 September 2010 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I remember as a young kid in Chicago, the sky turned a deep freaky color I’d never seen before. I could feel that something very strange and frightening was heading our way. My mom rounded us up and we went to the bathroom to sit it out. Nothing happen by us, but I remember Mom telling us a funnel cloud was spotted a short distance from us, don’t remember if it touched down or not - no TV yet, back then.

As for New York and the way you described the storm -  makes one wonder,
the weather just ain’t what it used to be.    wink

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Posted: 20 September 2010 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 19 September 2010 08:37 PM

I wonder why Manhattan got it so easy when all around there was such damage?  Could the tall buildings have weakened the storm a bit?

Probably just dumb luck. The storm was strengthening as it passed through Manhattan, and seemed to hit its apex as it passed through Brooklyn and Queens. Though Manhattan does have tall buildings, they mostly congregate in midtown and lower Manhattan.

Also let’s be clear: there wasn’t really an enormous amount of damage. A lot of trees down, a few roofs destroyed. One person killed by a falling limb. Power out for something like 20-30,000, restored everywhere as of this morning. In a city the size of NYC that’s relatively minor. I’ve known tornadoes in the midwest that passed through rural areas doing orders of magnitude more damage.

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Posted: 20 September 2010 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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dougsmith - 20 September 2010 06:19 AM
jump_in_the_pit - 19 September 2010 08:37 PM

I wonder why Manhattan got it so easy when all around there was such damage?  Could the tall buildings have weakened the storm a bit?

Probably just dumb luck.

Also let’s be clear: there wasn’t really an enormous amount of damage.

Yes, I agree, keep the scale of the damage in mind.  For the few that are directly affected, this storm was a disaster.  For some who are indirectly affected, this storm was a serious inconvenience, not a disaster.  Most NYers weren’t really affected by more than just rain.  But… for the city overall this was record setting, freakish, destroying thousands of trees (some large trunks were snapped in half!), and damaging more trees; I saw pictures of a large roof peeled off and landed on some cars; many cars were crushed by trees; and one woman was also.  That it was so unusual for the city, that’s why it is big news, tornadoes are not just for Tornado Alley.

Compared to Tornado Alley, I’ve seen pictures of the 20 or maybe 100 foot wide paths that the tornadoes carve out there, wooden houses sliced in two, a path extending for perhaps a few hundred feet or a few miles.  That I haven’t heard of in NYC.  But in rural areas (remember most of the USA is rural), it directly affects only a few people, in small towns (there are more small towns than cities in the USA) it only affects a few people, and cities of Tornado Alley are only occasionally directly affected because they occupy such little land.  There’s lots of wooden construction out in the Mid-West, so the advice is to get to the strongest portions of the house, doorways and rooms with plumbing pipes, although I doubt that PVC plumbing would add much strength.  In NYC the advice was to use basements.  There are some differences between NYC area geography/construction when compared to Tornado Alley, but a storm is still a storm. 

The meteorologist from the article put the scale of the storms well, “...a tornado can be a mile wide and the thunderstorm can go up 40,000 feet into the atmosphere, so the buildings are small in magnitude compared to the weather,” says Henry Margusity, senior meteorologist and severe weather expert at AccuWeather.com in State College, Pa.  So even when I see the Empire State Building get swallowed by the stormclouds, it is only penetrating the bottom surface of the storm.

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Posted: 20 September 2010 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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“The sky turned a sickening shade of green as the destructive winds blew in, toppling a church steeple, blowing out windows and mowing down a forest’s worth of trees.”

(from Tornado in New York? Massive clean-up after deadly storm as authorities try to confirm twister)

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