A tree toppled onto a vehicle during Tuesday’s destructive storms in New York state, killing an 11-year-old girl who was still inside.
The girl and her mother had just gotten home from the grocery store and were unloading groceries from their SUV when winds blew the car door shut, said Sgt. Joseph Rutigliano of the Newburgh Police Department. The tree fell on the car as the girl was sitting in the front seat.
The accident happened just after 4 p.m. A few hours later New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would declare a state of emergency in several counties and deployed the New York National Guard. Severe thunderstorms and damaging winds of up to 80 miles per hour swept through the Northeast Tuesday, leaving toppled trees, damaged homes and downed power lines, leaving thousands without electricity.
Rutigliano said the city’s fire department received a call about a person trapped in a vehicle. Fire crews used hydraulic equipment to lift the top of the car and get the girl out.
The girl’s mother, who was near the vehicle, suffered minor injuries, Rutigliano said. Police aren’t releasing the identity of the mother or her daughter.
Neighbor Ramon Rodriguez watched as fire crews cut parts of the car off to get the girl out. The mother was on the porch, crying, “My daughter, my daughter!” Rodriguez told NBC New York.
“It kind of gave me the chill when I first saw it,” Rodriguez said.
A video taken from the scene shows the SUV completely mangled as large tree limbs rested on top.
At least four other people were killed in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania after trees fell on vehicles, according to media reports. One was a man who tried to escape from the storm by getting inside his pickup truck, the Hartford Courant reported.
Residents in Newburgh, located along the Hudson River about 60 miles north of Manhattan, remain without power as of Wednesday morning, Rutigliano said. Storms damaged some of the city’s older structures and blew the roofs off a couple of buildings.
Hail the size of golf balls fell across parts of southeast New York state.
Tuesday’s damage wasn’t limited to high winds. The line of severe thunderstorms that rolled over the East Coast caused what’s called a meteotsunami. The Washington Post’s Angela Fritz wrote:
According to NOAA, meteotsunamis are possible in many lakes, seas and oceans around the world when conditions are right. Some have even been observed to reach six feet or higher. That being said, they still tend to be smaller than true tsunamis, which are usually triggered by earthquakes.