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Severe thunderstorm knocks down hundreds of trees in NYC’s Central Park

Yadira Malave inspected an uprooted tree in Central Park yesterday. The storm packed wind gusts as high as 80 miles per hour. Yadira Malave inspected an uprooted tree in Central Park yesterday. The storm packed wind gusts as high as 80 miles per hour. (Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg)
Associated Press / August 20, 2009

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NEW YORK - Hundreds of century-old trees in New York City’s Central Park have been knocked down by a severe thunderstorm packing wind gusts as high as 80 miles per hour and lightning.

The storm swept through the area Tuesday night, snapping some trees in half and uprooting others. One tree lay across the tennis courts at West 96th Street, and a few lampposts stood at a slant after trees crashed into them.

Several parked cars were also destroyed when branches hurtled through the air and landed on them.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the storm damage looks like pictures he’s seen “of war zones where artillery shells have shredded trees.’’

The storm swept in after two days of temperatures above 90 degrees.

The National Weather Service was predicting showers and thunderstorms were possible again last night.