Two tornadoes rip through New York City

The aftermath of the tornadoes in New York City

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Two rare tornadoes have hit New York City's borough of Queens and Brooklyn, damaging homes, causing blackouts and throwing debris into the air.

The first storm, with winds up to 70mph (113km/h), struck Breezy Point on Queens' Rockaway Peninsula.

The second tornado, with gusts reaching 110mph, hit Brooklyn's Canarsie area just minutes later.

No injuries were reported, but the storms forced the suspension of the US Open tennis tournament.

Police ordered the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows to be evacuated, halting the second semi-final in men's competition.

Start Quote

We were all scared. It was really crazy”

End Quote Caitlin Walsh Breezy Point Surf Club employee

The game, between Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer, will restart on Sunday.

'Like a train'

Eyewitnesses in Queens reported seeing trees and electricity pylons uprooted and picnic benches and waste bins being thrown into the air. There were some reports of vehicles being lifted up.

Video posted on You Tube shows a large, dark tornado funnelling out of the skyline.

At the Breezy Point Surf Club, the storm tore off roofs of cabanas, scattering debris around.

"We were all scared. The windows on the whole building broke, the lights went out... Everything was shaking. It was really crazy," club employee Caitlin Walsh was quoted as saying by Reuters.

A woman struggles with her umbrella under heavy rain in New York. Photo: 8 September 2012

"I was showing videos of tornadoes to my 4-year-old on my phone, and two minutes later, it hit," local resident Peter Maloney told AP.

"Just like they always say, it sounded like a train."

One person who became trapped in a flooded lift in the basement of an apartment was rescued by a porter, reports say.

The second storm hit the Canarsie area in Brooklyn, damaging several homes and trees.

Parts of New York were also lashed with heavy rains brought by the storms.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said thunderstorms were likely to affect parts of New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, with more tornadoes possible.

It said the severe weather was likely to continue overnight as a cold front from the west clashed with the warm, moist air.

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