September 2010 Severe Weather

Rego Park & Middle Village, NY

September 16, 2010

Area Map

Photographs and Commentary
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Rego Park

Around 6PM on September 16, 2010, I went to my neighbor across the street. As I crossed the street, I heard the distant rumble of thunder. I thought very little of it because I knew a front was moving in from the west and thunderstorms were forecast. I don't think I was at my neighbors for only a few minutes when the storm hit. It was the fiercest storm I have experienced in this area since I moved here 55 years ago. Susie called me from home telling me that there were tornado warnings for the area. She sounded quite concerned, but there was no way for me to get home in that torrential downpour. The heart of the storm moved across the area in a matter of minutes and I went back home. Susie was watching the news and they were reporting tornado sightings in Brooklyn and Queens and severe damage in a number of neighborhoods. We had no damage in our immediate neighborhood, but we soon heard that there was significant damage just a quarter of a mile east. Shortly after the storm passed our area, our cable went out and we lost Internet, TV and phone service (it was not restored until more than 24 hours later). It wasn't until the next morning that we got more information on the extent of the damage in New York City. The National Weather service advised that the damage in the Rego Park - Forest Hills area was from a macroburst (linear rather than the cyclonic air flow of a tornado) with winds up to 125 MPH.

The day following the storm, Susie and I walked east along Alderton Street in Rego Park to observe and photograph the damage. Below are some of the pictures that I took... all within a half mile from our house. The September 18th edition of the New York Times had a report describing the storm including a multimedia feature with about 500 pictures.

This house is located about 1/4 of a mile from our home. This tree and others on the street were uprooted while others snapped at the top. At our house, we had a few twigs on the ground. Almost all of the trees on Alderton Street were replaced about 20 years ago when it and neighboring streets were repaved. The trees in the Crescents were much bigger and older and suffered the most damage.

The trees in the background line the mainline tracks of the Long Island Railroad. They sustained some damage and some of the trees landed on the tracks disrupting service for hours.

This multi-family building suffered a partial collapse of the parapet and may have had other roof damage.

Alderton Street is blocked by several trees that formerly lined the sidewalk and interior of Painters Park (Alderton Street between Dieterle and Elwell Crescents)

Damage to Painters Park trees as viewed from the Intersection of Alderton Street and Dieterle Crescent

This tree landed on one of the balconies in this apartment house

The capricious nature of the winds can be seen in this picture. This metal awning was flipped up while the adjacent (seems to be identical) awning had no visible damage.

US Department of Agriculture personnel survey tree damage

The swing in Painters Park was damaged by a falling branch. This was where our children used to play when they were younger.

The top of a tree that was snapped off at the top and landed in the PS 174 school yard

Dieterle Crescent adjacent to PS 174. WIth all this surrounding damage, the school was open.


There is a relatively new car under these branches

This tree was estimated to be about 60 years old

Some of the old trees had rot in them and were no match for the wind. This tree was one of several I observed that were hollow.

Juniper Valley Park

We had heard that Juniper Valley Park, about 1 mile southwest of our home, had extensive damage. On September 19th, three days after the storm, we decided to walk up to the park to document the extent of the damage. Based on what we heard, we expected more damage. What we found was still bad, especially if you were one of the neighbors affected by the falling trees.

Pullis Farm Cemetery

This 80 foot Scarlet Oak just missed crashing on the Pullis Farm Cemetery. The tree is believed to be about 110 years old.

This tree, near the tennis courts, was hollow at the top and didn't stand a chance against the strong winds generated by the storm. The picture at right shows the area of the break with a plug of debris accumulated over time. The picture below shows a segment of the same tree.

Rot at the bottom of this tree doomed it

The tree, above left, lost several of its branches. As can be seen on one of the branches, above right, the branches had hollow spots and only a few inches of support.



In the debris around the branch above, I spotted this piece of bark. The contrast between the blacktop walkway and the interior of the bark fascinated me. I get artsy once in a while.

It once provided shade... now it provides a play area

A number of trees came down on Dry Harbor Road, a major street in the area and a bus route. A local homeowner told us that they don't expect to have the street opened for a few more days.

The trees knocked down phone and cable lines. Above left, a cable transformer lies on the ground. Above right is a piece of telephone pole support wire that snapped when the pole was knocked down.




Left, a view looking across Dry Harbor Road towards the park. The debris pile on the car includes one of the telephone poles. According to one of the homeowners, the pole was replaced by Con Edison within a day of the storm. The trimming of the branches to clear the sidewalk was done by the neighbors. Surprisingly, the city has done little to clear the street and the busses are now running on a detour.