Tornado Damage in Prospect Park South, Caton Park and Beverley Square West

Update 2007.08.09: The National Weather Service says that this was the strongest tornado on record to hit New York City.

Evening update: By the afternoon, the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that there had been an EF2 tornado, but only in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. They also reported that it traveled northeast, which would have placed it in the path of Sunset Park, Kensington, and Flatbush.

Update 16:30 EDT: I've got the Flickr set up, and I'm uploading the remainder of the photos as I type.

Totalled. This was on Rugby Road, north of Church Avenue in Caton Park.

I just got back a half-hour ago from my tornado walking tour of my neighborhood, Beverley Square West, the adjoining Prospect Park South Historic District, and Caton Park. I'm home today because none of the subways were running this morning, and our local line, the B/Q train, is down due to trees on the tracks near the Church Avenue station, around the corner from Prospect Park South, which sustained heavy damage.

Cortelyou Road Station (Q Line), closed
Cortelyou Road Station, Closed

Chainsaws will be serenading us for the next several days. I have lots of photos to upload, once I can clear enough space on my hard drive to accommodate them. I should have plenty by the end of the day, so check back later.

The National Weather Service hasn't made the determination, but from the reports, and from the damage I saw, I think it must have been a tornado that tore through Brooklyn this morning. When I went out this morning, the local news channels were only covering the neighborhood of Bay Ridge. But later reports include Sunset Park and Kensington. There's still been no mention of Flatbush on the news, but these neighborhoods form a rough path through central Brooklyn. There's a track of damage through Brooklyn, not just localized damage, which is just what one would expect to see from a tornado.

Marlborough Road, south of Albemarle Road. Note the two trunks left standing in front of the house on the right; they were both snapped off.
Marlborough Road, south of Albemarle Road

The damage I saw, especially in Prospect Park South, just looked odd. It wasn't any one thing. There were trees, such as the one at the top of this post, which clearly had problems before they were blown down. Those we would expect to be fall in heavy winds. But there were many trees with clear, clean wood, with no signs of disease or other problems.

Twisted and split limb of Norway maple, 125 Argyle Road
Twisted and split limb of Norway maple, 125 Argyle Road

Every kind of tree was affected. Most of the smaller trees were simply blown over, snapped at the root flare, separated from the roots. Some of the larger trees were also toppled, their roots pushing up sidewalks. But many were snapped off at the trunk, or their upper limbs and branches seemed to have been shredded off. I saw large limbs whose damage could only have been caused by twisting. Upper limbs of trees didn't just fall onto rooftops, they were blown up onto them.

Parks Department beginning to remove a toppled street tree in Beverley Square West.

Parks Department beginning to remove a toppled street tree.



An EF-2 Tornado Strikes Brooklyn on the Central New York Weather Blog of WKTV in upstate New York has some great radar images and the complete text of the National Weather Service's statement confirming the tornado.
August 16, Brooklyn Eagle: While Bay Ridge Captured Attention, Flatbush Areas Also Suffered from Brooklyn Tornado
August 10, Brooklyn Eagle: The Path of The Brooklyn Twister; Heroic Efforts Help Affected Brooklyn Areas Recover from Tornado Damage includes an excellent map of the path of the tornado

A Tree Blows Down in Brooklyn, photos of damage in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Row House blog

NYC Hazards: Tornadoes, NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM)


Anonymous said...

It looks like the tornado has now been confirmed - I had no idea that they would hit in New York. I think of them as midwestern and southern events.

I was surprised when I saw the first of your pics - the story hadn't hit the web when I left for work this am, and I hadn't checked the news during the day.

I take it you, your family, and your house are all safe and unharmed?

Unknown said...

Wow... what damage. I'm glad that you seem to be safe, though, Xris.

Was this the same storm that would have come through Cleveland in the late morning yesterday? It was a doozy--it had done some damage the night before in the Illinois/Indiana/Wisconsin area, I believe, and then come to visit us. Here we didn't have nearly the damage and downed trees but it did dump 4 inches of rain and there was a lot of flash flooding. And it was darker than I've ever seen the sky at 9am on a summer morning.

bonnie said...

Can you believe I had to go to work anyways? Took me 3 hours. I ended up over on Flatbush Ave so I managed to pass just a few blocks away from all the havoc without any clue. Although I was impressed at the amount of rain & lightning when it woke me up early early early.

How's your garden?

I've got hopes mine's fine, if soggy - it's out in Canarsie after all.

Entangled said...

I just learned of the storm when I opened the newspaper this morning. I hope your house and garden escaped damage. Amazing photos - they look like they could be from the Midwest.

Annie in Austin said...

My husband said, "Did you know there was a tornado in Brooklyn" and I dashed in to check your site.
Great reporting, Xris -


Anonymous said...

Good thinking on the tornado-esque details of the damage. Because of the spectacular property damage, Bay Ridge will remain the media label for this story, but there's no question in my mind it carved a path here thru Kensington (or touched down again)...and just north of Church Ave. in PPS was a precise demarcation line. We sat in front of the open window at 7 am enjoying the weirdly powerful 'breeze' (felt like 50 mph)and praying for our 4-story "Ent" maple--and got no more than a few twigs down,less than 1 block away from the Rugby car-nage.

Doctor Mom said...

Thank you, Xris, for posting this photos and your report. When I heard the news, I wondered how you might be affected. Hope that you're back to gardening!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know this was your site. Terrific! Great photos. Hope all is well on Beverly Sq. West. Thanks. Liz H. Your old fellow gardner