Two tornadoes have struck the outer edges of New York City, hurling debris into the air and knocking out power but causing no serious injuries among startled residents.
The first hit a beachfront neighbourhood and the second, stronger tornado followed moments later about 10 miles away.
Videos taken by bystanders showed a funnel cloud sucking up water, then sand, and then small pieces of buildings, as the first moved through the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens.
The second hit to the north west, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn also near the water, about seven minutes later. The National Weather Service said winds were up to 110 miles per hour, and several homes and trees were damaged.
Residents had advance notice. The weather service had issued a tornado warning for Queens and Brooklyn. The storm took people by surprise anyway when it struck about 20 minutes later.
"I was showing videos of tornadoes to my four-year-old on my phone, and two minutes later, it hit," said Breezy Point neighbourhood resident Peter Maloney. "Just like they always say, it sounded like a train."
In the storm's wake, the community of seaside bungalows was littered with broken flower pots, knocked-down fences and smashed windows.
At the Breezy Point Surf Club, the tornado ripped the roofs off rows of cabanas, scattered deck chairs and left a heavy metal barbecue and propane tank sitting in the middle of a softball field.