Queens and the rest of the city are under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. tonight as a line of thunderstorms are fast approaching from the west.
The National Weather Service (NWS), which issued the tornado watch, predicts that strong to severe thunderstorms could hit the tri-state area later this afternoon and evening. Some could bring winds of up to 70 mph and ping-pong-sized hail, and the thunderstorms may spawn isolated tornadoes.
A tornado watch means that conditions are ripe for twisters, which may develop as a result of fast-moving cooler air mixing with hot temperatures such as those Queens is experiencing today. According to the NWS forecast, wind and hail make up the “greatest threat” with the approaching storms.
The NWS will issue a tornado warning if a tornado is approaching a specific area. If a tornado warning is issued, the NWS advises residents in the area to take shelter immediately and stay away from windows.
The “World’s Borough” was last hit with a tornado in September 2012, when a weak twister touched down in Breezy Point. Two years earlier, a tornado left a path of destruction across Queens from Forest Hills to Little Neck; that same storm system also produced a microburst — a strong, linear wind gust of 125 mph — that damaged trees and homes in Ridgewood, Maspeth and Middle Village.
Stay tuned to local forecasts for further information on the severe weather threat.