NEW YORK — Damaging storms that spawned tornadoes in New York City, darkened tens of thousands of homes in the Washington, D.C., area and flooded New England streets turned a normal day of rest into a day of cleaning up for many East Coast residents on Sunday.
No serious injuries were reported when a twister hit a beachfront neighborhood Saturday on the edge of New York City and a second, stronger tornado followed moments later about 10 miles away. Residents got advance notice but still the storm took people by surprise.
The unsettled weather, part of a cold front that crossed over the Eastern Seaboard, toppled trees and power lines and damaged buildings as it passed through. Wind gusts reached 70 mph in some places.
In Fall River, Mass., floodwaters reached up to car windshields and stalled out dozens of vehicles. A day care center was evacuated and St. Anne’s Hospital’s emergency room flooded.
Weather Service meteorologist John Cannon said the storms by late Saturday had come and gone in Maine, where the concern then became high swells of 4 to 8 feet on the beaches and rip currents that would make it dangerous to be out on the water Sunday.
In New Hampshire, television station WMUR reported 4,000 power outages. The storm reached every county in Vermont, all within a two-hour window, but mercifully left the state without any extraordinary damage, according to early reports.
In New York City, videos taken by bystanders showed a funnel sucking up water, then sand, and then small pieces of buildings as the first tornado moved through the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens.
The second twister hit to the northwest, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn but also near the water, about seven minutes later. The National Weather Service said winds were up to 110 miles per hour, and several homes and trees were damaged.
Tornadoes are traditionally rare in the New York City area, but they have occurred with regularity in recent years. A small tornado uprooted trees on Long Island last month.