Storm Batters Long Island With Hail and Prompts Rare Tornado Warnings

By Troy Closson and Isabella Grullón Paz.

A series of rare tornado warnings rattled the New York metro area as heavy rain, quarter-size hail and powerful wind battered parts of Long Island, New York City and New Jersey on Saturday.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fast-moving storm, according to officials on Long Island, where most of the warnings were posted, but photos on social media showed that it had left uprooted trees and caused minor damage to homes and vehicles in several sections of Suffolk and Nassau Counties.

The National Weather Service could not confirm that a tornado had struck the region until it assessed the damage, but it did issue a tornado warning shortly before 3 p.m. for parts of the two counties, including Commack, Levittown and Melville.

Dominic Ramunni, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service on Long Island, said that gusts like these were not uncommon and can happen a lot this time of year as more cold fronts make their way through the East Coast. Winds were reported to be gusting up to 60 miles per hour.

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers to take precautions as the sky over the city rapidly darkened and stormy weather approached.