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Residents Cleaning Up After Tornado Hits NJ, Other Strong Storms Slam Tri-State

NWS Confirms EF-0 Tornadoes In Union County, N.J., Greenwich, Conn.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Residents across the Tri-State area were cleaning up after wild weather tore through the region on Monday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service confirmed an EF-0 tornado touched down on Monday around 11 a.m. from northern Greenwich to northern Stamford, Conn.

The NWS had previously confirmed that an EF-0 tornado, packing winds up to 85 mph, hit parts of New Jersey.

That twister touched down at 9:17 a.m. in Berkeley Heights in Union County. Forecasters say the twister was on the ground for about 10 minutes and cut a path of about 50 yards wide and 4.8 miles long through New Providence and Summit.

“It was crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s amazing what Mother Nature can do,” Berkeley Heights resident Michael Horwith told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.

Horwith said he was home when the twister ripped through his yard, but he said his training as an Eagle Scout helped him spring into action.

“I just grabbed the safe case with all the important documents, headed to the basement,” Horwith told Brown.

“All I heard was stuff — trees snapping, falling on the roof, house shaking,” said Berkeley Heights resident Pri Knor. “It was like a wall, a sheet of rain just blowing past us.”

Resident James McMahon told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams he heard a roar.

“Almost like a locomotive. Like a train coming through,” he said. “It was pretty scary. You can only imagine if it was worse, what kind of damage it would do. We’re not used to that type of weather in this area and hopefully we won’t have it again.”

Mayor Joseph Bruno told Adams that the township put out a reverse 911 alert.

“It was the first time ever that my emergency BlackBerry went off. I got a little concerned about it since I never had it [go off]. So, if I’ve never had it [go off], it must be big. So, we went down to the basement in my home,” he said.

Bruno added the twister left devastation in its wake.

“This is the worst damage I’ve seen even through Sandy in one specific area,” he told Brown.

Investigators said the damage pattern was consistent with a tornado — trees twisted in different directions, snapped near the roots and debris scattered by high winds.

“It looked like a war zone,” another resident said. “There were a number of trees that were  down, others were broken in half like toothpicks.”

Storm damage in Berkeley Heights, NJ on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Storm damage in Berkeley Heights, NJ on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

The storm also knocked out power for many residents. Justin Criscione and his dad spent hours in the dark Monday night cleaning up their back yard.

“I’m not sure what to think, it’s like something crazy that happened,” he said. “I’m not sure what to think about it.”

Tree cutting crews were out Tuesday morning clearing mangled branches from residential streets.

Those crews had to work around power crews that were out as well trying to get electricity restored to everyone as quickly as possible.

Most of the power was restored.

In New York, about 30 people had to evacuate a neighborhood in Yonkers when heavy rains and a possible microburst pounded the area.

A roof of a building on Willow Street was ripped off. It flew into another building, shattering its windows and knocking a mounted air-conditioning unit. Dozens of trees came down.

There were no reports of injuries.

A microburst is a powerful downdraft of wind with an affected outflow area of less than 2.5 miles wide and peak winds lasting less than five minutes.

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