The awning of a shopping center in Shirley was destroyed on Saturday. (Peggy Spellman Hoey/Patch)
It was an EF-1 with gusts of 86 to 110 MPH, the National Weather Service said at about 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Peggy Spellman Hoey,Patch StaffPosted Sun, Nov 14, 2021 at 9:30 pm ET|Updated Sun, Nov 14, 2021 at 11:30 pm ET
SHIRLEY, NY — The force of nature that ripped off part of a shopping center’s awning at a Long Island beachfront community — leaving many to question its strength — was confirmed a tornado by the National Weather Service on Sunday night.
An EF-1 tornado, which was the strongest of three confirmed on Long Island on Saturday, “likely touched down” in the hamlets of Shirley, Mastic, and Manorville in Suffolk County, officials said.
It touched down just southwest of Francine Place and Mastic Boulevard then traveled northeast along the Long Island Rail Road and the backyards that were adjacent, said officials at about 8:30 p.m. as they released the results from an earlier survey.
Numerous oak, maples, and pine trees were uprooted and laid in a northerly direction, and several trees were also snapped at the trunk or had large branches sheared off along the path, officials said.
There was minor roof and siding damage and leaf splatter on the south and east sides, said officials, adding that the damage swath was “only about 25 yards wide.”
The tornado “hooked northeast over the Lidl supermarket and flipped over a 50-ton air handler unit on the roof before tearing off the parapet and collapsing the covered walkway” over Chipotle Mexican Grill, officials said.
But the damage path remained about 25 yards, “consistent with” gusts of wind from 95 to 105 mph.
“Public video showed the apparent tornadic circulation lifting northeast across the intersection of William Floyd Parkway and Montauk Highway” towards the Applebee’s shopping center “with debris being thrown in one direction or another,” officials said.
Siding and shingles from Chipotle were thrown northeast about 250 yards across the intersection and into the shopping center with Applebee’s, according to officials. Small trees were “uprooted in the parking lot” and they were laying to the northeast and flashing was ripped off the south side of the restaurant and an adjacent unoccupied retail space.
“The tornadic circulation may have been briefly lifted at this point, with about a 50-yard swath of 65 t0 75 mph straight-line winds across the shopping center,” officials said, adding, the “tornadic circulation then touched down once again in the northeast of the Applebee’s shopping center” and it “lifted the entire roof off of a two-story multi-family home on the corner of Grand Avenue and McGraw Street.”
“The roof was tossed as far as 150 yards to the north into the backyard of neighboring houses to the north on Grand Avenue,” officials said, adding that one of the sections of the roof “actually impaled itself into the side of the neighboring house to the north, and made such a strong impact that it skewed the vertical structure of that house.”
The adjacent 50-yard swath of trees were uprooted, snapped, or sheared and this was consistent with EF-1’s “of around 110 mph,” which is when the tornado strength “likely peaked,” officials said.
The entirety of the path was around one-quarter mile, and it made its way across Sunrise Highway — skipping its way northeast for four-and-a-half miles — and its path continued to Brookhaven Calabro Airport, where it flipped over small planes, according to officials.
It then moved northeast to Pancho and Titmus drives, Abbot Avenue, and Burney Boulevard, just east of the airport, and where there were several large trees uprooted, trunks snapped, or branches sheared, officials said.
The tornado went as far east as Barnes Road in Manorville.
An EF-0 tornado was confirmed in East Islip by the NWS just after 6 p.m.
NWS officials also confirmed just after 3:15 p.m. that the first tornado in the region was that of another EF-0 tornado that touched down in Nassau County in the hamlets of Woodwere and Levittown.
After a survey in Nassau, officials said that they found the first touchdown was in Woodmere where several trees and powerlines were downed, and from there, the tornado “lifted and skipped in a few locations as it traveled nearly 50 mph” north to Hempstead, Uniondale, and Levittown.
Damage reports were “sporadic,” officials said, adding that the tornado “touched down again and tore a roof off a two-story colonial home on Liberty Street, and “it landed on a nearby house.
“Scattered debris, including shingles, insulation, and twisted siding was thrown into the next block up, including the intersection of Emerson and Goodrich Street,” officials said.
“Significant damage” was also noted near Clover Lane in Levittown, where a large tree was felled onto a house before the tornado lifted,” officials said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.