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Wow, that was a crazy storm • Brooklyn Paper

Wow, that was a crazy storm

The storm pummeled Bushwick, too, hitting Maria Hernandez Park particularly hard.
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

A crazy half-hour storm ripped through Brooklyn yesterday afternoon sending trees crashing onto cars, news reporters scurrying to find anyone with amateur video, editors scrambling to find the definition (and spelling) of “tornado,” and sending at least one man to the hospital.

This is just a classic Tom Callan shot.
Photo by Tom Callan

Our crack team caught these pictures in Park Slope and in Bushwick, where witnesses swear they saw a funnel cloud touch down at around 5:30 pm, just a few minutes after the generally overcast, but benign, sky veered quickly into “Wizard of Oz” territory.

The Whole Foods site on Third Avenue had its fence blown down — which probably wouldn’t have happened if there was a Whole Foods there instead of an empty lot. Just sayin’.
Photo by Tom Callan

In Park Slope, a massive tree on Seventh Avenue between 11th and 12th streets slammed into a car, sending its occupant, a local sensei, to the hospital.

Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

Channel 4 news posted an amateur video that suggested that we had been hit by a tornado. So did Channel 2. Channel 7 only offered still photos, which, frankly, aren’t that helpful.

The crazy storm snapped trees like toothpicks on Seventh Avenue in the South Slope.
Community Newspaper Group / Gersh Kuntzman

It is unclear by our deadline whether we were hit with a tornado, which is only defined as “a violently rotating column of air, in contact with the ground.” The National Weather Service often downgrades tornados to “gustnados,” so we’ll have to see what happens this time.

A sensei was sitting in this car and was injured.
Community Newspaper Group / Gersh Kuntzman

Meanwhile, we got an amazing witness account from our pal, John Derian. Here’s what he said:

The NYPD and FDNY worked to clear Flatbush Avenune outside of Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch in Park Slope on Thusday night.
Community Newspaper Group / Joe Anuta

“S— is out of control in my neighborhood. I had to outrun the tornado! I was walking home from Grand Army Plaza. On the way there was lots of thunder, the clouds were moving quickly, but it wasn’t too windy, and little rain. After I turned onto St. Johns, I noticed the wind was picking up, it started to rain a lot harder, lightning was flashing all around, and the clouds looked green. Then this girl ran past me yelling a tornado is coming. I turned around and see this wall of water barreling down the street. The girl jumped into a market, but I ran as fast as I could to my apartment right down the street. I was fumbling around with the keys and got inside right as it’s going by me. Looking out my window, I could see only water moving horizontally. Five minutes later it was done. I went outside, and the street was completely devastated. Trees uprooted, tearing apart the concrete. Cars smashed from fallen branches and trees. Hundreds of people were out snapping photos. It was a pretty wild scene.”

The carnage was vast near Grand Army Plaza. Wrath of God — or just a storm? You decide.
Community Newspaper Group / Joe Anuta

Indeed.

A tornado blew through Bushwick between 5:30 and 5:45 pm, knocking down a corrugated metal fence on Jefferson St. and Evergreen Avenue, ripping off tree limbs and knocking others down in Maria Hernandez Park.
Photo by Chris Henderson

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