On Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010, a system brewing over New Jersey tracked east across New York City, Long Island and Connecticut and dropped two tornadoes on the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
The first tornado, rated an EF-0 by the National Weather Service (NWS), was on the ground for 2 miles near Park Slope in the borough of Brooklyn. The second tornado tracked for 4 miles through Queens County near Flushing and Bayside.
A macro burst and straight-line winds were also confirmed. Winds gusted to 125 mph in an 8-mile stretch, up to 5 miles wide, the NWS report stated.
The unusual event killed one and injured many. Trees and power lines were downed in roadways and on cars throughout the boroughs.
"What this all adds up to is that the majority of NYC residents did not see a tornado, but a large portion of the local population was affected by straight-line winds which had the equivalent speeds of an EF-2 tornado," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell wrote on his WeatherMatrix blog the day the NWS confirmed the events.
The NWS confirmation was made despite a slew of hoax photos and videos circulating on social media.
"I was a little surprised to see them confirmed, but that just goes to show that they can be obscured by rain and it can take a thorough storm scene investigation to ferret out the root causes of severe weather damage," Ferrell said.
Though rare, tornadoes in New York City are not unprecedented. Nearly one dozen have occurred in New York City since 1985, according to the New York City Office of Emergency Management.
Most recently, on Sept. 8, 2012, a waterspout came onshore as an EF-0 in Rockaway Beach, before becoming an EF-1 in Brooklyn and causing significant damage in Canarsie.