2010-09-15 / Front Page

Massive Storm Wreaks Havoc In Queens


 A strong storm hit New York City Thursday evening–a storm so strong and causing so much damage that the National Weather Service was asked to determine if the tempest was in fact classifiable as a tornado. Several witnesses claimed to have seen funnel clouds hovering above Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens. The storm brought waves of rain, 100-mph winds and hail in some areas. Meteorologists are still trying to determine whether or not the storm could be classified as a tornado.


Queens sustained widespread, severe damage, with 27,000 power failures reported to Con Edison as a result of toppled trees and downed power lines. Several residential streets across the borough were all but destroyed, especially in Flushing, Bayside, Corona and Forest Hills, resulting in numerous reports of damaged cars and houses. Entire streets were closed off to cars and police vehicles were parked at the various scenes to warn pedestrians away from fallen power lines. 


As of Friday morning, an entire lane of the Grand Central Parkway near Jewel Avenue remained closed off because trees had fallen across the lane during the storm, killing Aline Levakis of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and injuring her husband, Bill. Other injuries were reported in newspapers and on news broadcasts, but no other deaths had been reported as of Friday afternoon.


The storm wreaked havoc on the campus of Queens College in Flushing, which was evacuated as trees came down. Several other schools were damaged but all public schools remained open with the exception of John Bowne H.S. on Main Street in Flushing. St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows was the one private school closed.. 


Historic St. George’s Episcopal Church, another fixture on Flushing’s Main Street, lost its 45-foot-tall wooden steeple either to a lightning strike or to high wind. As of press time the cause was yet to be determined. A 200-year-old cross was saved from the rubble, but the rest of the steeple was destroyed and the sidewalk covered in debris. No injuries were reported in that incident.

To view our image gallery of storm damage


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