By Gregory Viscusi
Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Meteorologists confirmed that yesterday's storms in the New York area included a tornado that cut a 9-mile path through Staten Island and Brooklyn.
The twister, estimated to have winds of between 111-135 miles (179-217 kilometers) an hour, damaged the roofs of 11 homes in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, and later tore off the roof of a car dealership at the corner of 66th Street and Fifth Avenue, the U.S. Weather Service said in a report on its Web site.
The tornado, which touched down in Staten Island at about 6:22 a.m. local time, caused extensive damage to trees, the service said. The tornado was a Category 2 on the 0-5 classification scale used by the weather service, in which 5 is the most powerful.
It was the first tornado to hit Brooklyn since modern record keeping began in 1950, the New York Times reported, citing Pennsylvania State University meteorologist Jeffrey M. Warner. The last tornado to hit New York was on Staten Island in 2003, the newspaper added.
The entire New York area was hit with heavy rain yesterday morning, with the weather service estimating that 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) of rain fell at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Subway services were returning to normal today after yesterday's flooding, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on its Web site.
Today should be sunny with highs of around 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius), though more thunderstorms are expected later with rain continuing into tomorrow, the weather service said. The weekend should be mostly dry and sunny.