First Tornado Hits the Bronx in 36 Years


On Friday night, for a 15-minute period, we were hunkered down in our windowless bathroom (just in case!) as our Twitter flashed “Tornado WARNING” from New York’s Office of Emergency Management, NotifyNYC, and, of course, the National Weather Service. (A warning, for future reference, means GET DOWN IN A DITCH STAT; a watch means “Watch, cause there might be a tornado.”) We thought to ourselves, dabbling with the concept of fear, Gee, aren’t we lucky that we live in such a hovel as to not have a window in the bathroom and, also, What do rich people do in cases such as these?

Meanwhile, across town, a friend was visiting other friends at their apartment on the 30-something floor, where they had a really excellent view of oddly green storm clouds gathering on the horizon (you know, the kind of view you expect when you pay so many figures for rent). Which brings up the intriguing question: Are tornadoes the great equalizer? After all, while status in the parlance of New York real estate involves high floors and balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows, safety in the parlance of tornadoes involves windowless basement dwellings or the lowest floor possible in a building where you can cover yourself with a mattress.

Anyway, you probably know that the tornado warning on Friday night was short-lived and turned out to be a thunderstorm warning, which we’ve all been through a million times before. Yawn. But then on Sunday, a 100-mph tornado really did hit the Bronx, specifically, Riverdale, at about 2:50 in the afternoon.

The inspectors saw tornado damage along a path of about sixth-tenths of a mile from the Hebrew Home for the Aged on Palisades Avenue, according to the National Weather Service. The tornado proceeded in a southeasterly direction to about the intersection of West 254th Street and Riverdale Avenue, officials said.

After hitting the Bronx, the storm system moved across the Long Island Sound and swept into Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

This, apparently, was the first tornado to hit the Bronx in 36 years. And given the recent spate of tornado-ish and otherwise blustery things this summer in New York City, not to mention that New York is number 2 on the list of places “due for a hurricane,” we’ll just put it out there now that admission to a certain Runnin’ Scared blogger’s Wi-Fi-enabled bathroom for future storm events will cost you $100 if you buy in advance, $200 at the door. Spaces are filling fast. Wine accepted in lieu of cash money.

Or, if you don’t like that idea, follow these instructions:

In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.

Wine accepted in lieu of thanks.