Oklahoma Tornado Dredges Up Memories Of NYC Tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the picture of destruction in Moore, Okla., riveted viewers to TVs across the country, some communities around New York were especially interested and sympathetic.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, the images struck particularly hard in Breezy Point, Queens, which was hit by its own tornado in September – and devastated by Hurricane Sandy barely a month later.
For Maria Alleva, 87, of Breezy Point, she put the Oklahoma tragedy in a single word.
“Overwhelming,” she said. “It really is overwhelming.
Having had her own home demolished by Sandy, she said she had been watching the tornado coverage with an experienced eye for destruction.
“Brokenhearted, crying – everything is taken away from them,” she said. “You want to wake up. It’s a dream.”
Sandy blasted Breezy Point, a small peninsula in the Rockaways, on Oct. 29. Out of 2,800 homes, as many as 500 were demolished by the storm and a massive fire that broke out.
Breezy Point storm victim Tom Fox said he has strong empathy for Oklahoma victims.
“Incredible devastation – much, much worse than what we went through,” Fox said.
Down the street, Joe Seidel, 90, is still doing repairs when he’s not watching TV coverage of the rubble and death in Moore, Okla.
“I think the devastation in Moore is much more intense, and deep,” Seidel said. “They lost children, and they’re still digging.”
Through various charities, Breezy Point residents said they are contacting each other by email and organizing donations for Oklahoma victims.
While none compared to the devastation of the Moore tornado, or Superstorm Sandy, numerous tornadoes have struck New York City since 2007.
In the short time it struck, the tornado reached speeds of up to 110 miles per hour wreaking havoc on neighborhoods. It sliced down power lines and uprooted sidewalks while snapping trees, house awnings and breaking windows.
PHOTOS: Queens Tornado
While tornadoes are rare in New York City, there actually have been at least 13 over the last 40 years.
• On Aug. 28, 2011, an EF-0 tornado was confirmed in Cunningham Park, Queens. It was spurred by a spiral rain band rotating around Hurricane Irene.
• On Sept. 16, 2010, two tornadoes struck the city. One, an EF-0 with gusts of 80 mph, touched down in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The other, an EF-1, touched down about two miles south of Flushing, Queens with winds of 100 mph. One person was killed when a tree fell on her car on the Grand Central Parkway.
• An EF-1 tornado touched down in the Riverdale section of the Bronx in on July 25, 2010, the City of New York reported.
• The strongest tornadoes on record in New York City happened on Aug. 8, 2007. An EF-2 tornado blasted through Brooklyn with winds of 135 mph, leaving severe devastation in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge. An EF-1 tornado also struck Staten Island.
• On Oct. 27, 2003, an F0 tornado occurred in the Bullshead and Willowbrook sections of Staten Island.
• In October 1995, an F0 tornado caused property damage on Staten Island.
• In August 1990, an F0 tornado struck Staten Island and injured three people.
• In October 1985, an F1 tornado touched down in Queens and injured six people.
• In September 1974, a tornado struck the Bronx and Westchester County.
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