South Brooklyn, NY Tornado, Jan 1889


New York and Brooklyn Get a Little Taste

NEW YORK, Jan. 10--(Special.)--The storm which wrought destruction in Pittsburg and Reading Wednesday evening gave the people of New York a whisk of its tail and developed into a young cyclone when it reached Brooklyn. This morning its path was marked by unroofed buildings, broken window panes, demolished fences, and store signs carried in some cases half a mile from their original resting-places. About fifty Brooklyn houses are more or less roofless, while it is difficult to discover a whole window glass in the path of the tornado. The barracks building at the navy-yard suffered most. It was practically destroyed. An exact estimate of the extent of the damages cannot be formed accurately yet, but it is computed that $100,000 will be the limit. This does not include the damage to the Citizens' Gaslight Company's tanks in South Brooklyn, which may or may not have (have) been caused by the cyclone. The company estimates its loss at $80,000. The officers are yet unable to account for the explosion. The signal service officer in this city attempts to account for it. He gives as a reason for the explosion of the gas tanks the sudden descent of the cyclone, which, he thinks, drove the air from around the big tanks. The pressure of air being thus taken from them the expansion of the gas inside was so great that it burst the reservoirs.

More or less damage was done to surrounding property, within half a mile of the gas works. Fences were blown down and windows shattered. The greatest outside loss was caused to the frame houses facing the works on Fifth street.

From reports received this morning at police headquarters it appears that the tornado first appeared in Gowanus Creek, in South Brooklyn, and thence whirled along north-east in a almost perfectly straight line, varying in width from 100 to 300 feet. When it reached the navy-yard it was not more than 100 feet wide, and its whole strength was concentrated in this narrow limit. It was accompanied by the rumbling noises of a Western cyclone. So powerful was it that people living in parts of the city which were not damaged felt their houses shake and were scared almost as badly as those who were in the direct path of the terrible wind. Fortunately no one was killed.

The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL 11 Jan 1889