New York City residents were cleaning up debris on Friday after a powerful storm suddenly swept through The Big Apple Thursday afternoon, leaving several people injured and one dead.
Utility crews also worked to finish restoring electricity to some 37,000 customers who lost power due to high winds.
The ferocity of brief storm took New York residents by surprise, and National Weather Service investigators are trying to determine whether the storm was in fact, a tornado.
"I thought it was the end of the world," one rattled resident said. "I had my life alert on me. I was going to press that. I thought I was going die."
Winds with speeds of more than 70 miles-per-hour tore trees out of the ground.
One man described a 25-foot-long tree limb being blown 50 feet into the air and staying suspended there. Another woman reported the winds held her home's ceiling up in the air.
For people caught in the path of destruction, it was a terrifying experience.
"All the doors in my house flew open," Tottonville resident Tatyahna Vanalstne recalled. "The air conditioner in my room crashed in. The windows crashed in."
New York's Penn Station shut down after becoming overcrowded. Thousands of commuters had no place to go after the tree-littered train tracks were shut down.
People who dared to drive through the storm said it was treacherous.
"I just started screaming 'There's a tornado! I'm in the middle of a tornado!' It was just black," Brooklyn resident Heather Holdaway recalled.
A 30-year-old woman died when a tree fell on her parked car. Elsewhere, numerous minor injuries were reported. Many people are thankful to be alive.
"I didn't know what hit me," accident victim Anthony Vozzolo said. "Glass was shattered everywhere. I'm thinking, 'Am I alive?'"
Since 1950, eight verified tornados have touched down in New York City.