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NWS confirms weak tornado hit Queens on Thursday night

A tornado tore through a strip of northern Queens on Thursday night, felling power lines and more than 50 trees and peeling the siding from homes in its path, the National Weather Service confirmed Friday.

The tornado, packing winds of 70 to 85 mph, touched down in the College Point section about 10:20 p.m. and traveled in a path about 100 yards wide for about three quarters of a mile before dissipating, the weather service said.

"The tornado strengthened as it moved [east] toward Powell's Cove Park, where at least 50 trees were downed in a narrow, convergent pattern," the weather service said.

The wind speed of the tornado ranks it as the weakest of the six tornado categories, an EF0.

The storm passed along the North Shore of Long Island, but a tornado did not form in Nassau County. Damage in areas east of Queens was determined to be that of straight-line winds, as opposed to a tornado, said Nancy Furbush, weather service meteorologist in Upton.

The weather service had issued a tornado warning at 10:18 p.m. for northern Nassau County, Queens and the Bronx after the formation of "a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado."

The storm was over Flushing, Queens, at the time and was moving east at about 20 mph, the weather service said. Minutes later, it was located over Sands Point, near Great Neck.

Tornado warnings are a "somewhat rare occurrence" for Long Island, said Jay Engle, a weather service meteorologist in Upton.

"This is the time of year — August and September — the season they tend to happen for Long Island," Engle said.

The most recent confirmed tornado to hit Long Island was on Aug. 10, 2016, near Mattituck, according to weather service records. It was also an EF0-strength event. Before that, there had been only eight confirmed tornadoes in Nassau County and 22 in Suffolk County from 1950 to 2015.

With Patricia Kitchen 

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