By Nathan Duke
A brief but devastating tornado with winds up to 125 mph stormed through Queens last Thursday, knocking down hundreds of trees and causing damage throughout the central and northeastern regions of the borough.
The tornado was the second to hit the five boroughs that day, following one that struck in Brooklyn shortly after 5 p.m.ï»¿
The National Weather Service said the tornado touched down in Queens around 5:20 p.m. and rampaged through the borough, wreaking havoc in Bayside, Forest Hills, Middle Village, Flushing, Rego Park and Maspeth.
“It was like a tunnel,” Forest Hills resident Wendy Leon said. “It was like a cloud, except it was round like a big hose. It was freakin’ scary.”
The storm, which was categorized as a tornado by the National Weather Service and had a macroburst of winds up to 125 mph in Queens, only lasted several minutes.
But elected officials from Queens, such as City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), and city agencies said their offices in the borough worked late into the night Friday and put in numerous hours last weekend to fix the damage caused by the storm.
As it blew into Queens, the sky over the borough turned black before pelting residents with driving rain and fierce winds that left thousands of people without power and killed a Pennsylvania woman who was driving on the Grand Central Parkway.
On its website, the National Weather Service reported numerous incidents of trees and power lines down across Queens.
Just moments before, the storm raked across Staten Island and then generated a separate tornado that buffeted sections of Brooklyn with 80 mph winds.
On Tuesday, the city Office of Emergency Management, the city Parks Department and Con Edison continued to clean up trees, power lines and damaged property caused by the tornado.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.