The weather mayhem in the Bronx over the weekend is being blamed on a tornado - the first in the borough since Gerald Ford was President.
Packing winds of 100 mph, the twister cut a half-mile swath through Riverdale, causing property damage and minor injuries but no loss of life.
Officials found tornado damage between the Hebrew Home for the Aged on Palisade Ave. and W. 254th St. and Riverdale Ave.
"I was never so scared in my life," said Joan Kearney, 80, who lives on Delafield Ave., a block from the tornado's path.
"I've never seen anything like this."
Trees were down in front of nearly every home along the alley of destruction, some smashing cars or blocking streets.
"This is about a quarter-mile square that got ripped to pieces," said Ted Mieszczanski, 64, a retired teacher, surveying the damage near his home on Palisade Ave. "This is very strange."
Karen Murphy, 54, lost a giant cedar tree in the front yard of her house on W. 254th St. The uprooted tree crashed into another tree that toppled into a utility pole, which fell into the street.
"The whole house is pockmarked from the assault," Murphy said.
The last tornado confirmed in the Bronx was in September 1974.
NATIONAL by Bethany Burks
YouTube Video: Minnesota Tornadoes 2010 – Tornadoes in Minnesota, Damage, Death Toll
June 18th, 2010
The death toll is currently at 3 following a slew of tornadoes in Minnesota. There were 36 tornado reports in all, and they caused mass devastation. This was a record day for this type of activity in the state if all reports are confirmed.
The previous record was 27 twisters in one day, set in 1992. Two people were killed in their homes, and one person was killed at a gas station. The man who was killed at a gas station has yet to be identified.
Minnesota is only the latest state to fall victim to mother nature. Michigan and Ohio experienced massive damage from tornadoes last month, and Arkansas and Oklahoma just experienced flash flooding. In addition, massive flooding in April caused billions of dollars in damages to Nashville, and the historic Opryland area remains devastated and closed until mid-November.
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino has approved the infusion of an additional P1.75 billion to the nearly depleted calamity fund for 2010, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said Friday.
Abad said in a statement the amount, which was based on the recommendation of the Department of Budget and Management, comes from items in the national budget that were not used in the first half of the year and thus could be considered as savings.
“The President ordered [the DBM] to find a way to augment the fund and he acted on and approved our recommendation quickly,” he said.
The budget chief added that the swift approval will ensure that resources will be available to defray expenses for calamity relief that impending typhoons may bring about before the end of the year.
“Although the previous administration has not provided adequately for areas ... frequently affected by typhoons, President Aquino wants to make sure that these areas will no longer be forsaken should they be devastated in the coming months,” Abad said.
He explained that the P1.75 billion will be taken from the P3.5 billion allotted for unfilled positions in various agencies which has remained unused as DBM data show.
Abad said the DBM recommended that the President declare the unused allocation as savings as provided for in the General Appropriations Act of 2010.
However, Abad said the P1.75 billion will not completely replenish the original amount of P2 billion for this year's calamity fund although officials earlier said the fund had a balance of P592 million.
“With the typhoon months still to come and looking at the experience with calamities in the past years, additional sources of augmentation will have to be sought,” Abad said.
Earlier this week, Abad lamented the Arroyo administration’s alleged lack of foresight for spending 70 percent of the calamity fund early this year “without considering the need for resources come the rainy season in the second semester.”
He also said first-half disbursements of the fund lacked equity, considering that P108 million of the P1.4 billion released went to Pampanga.
In contrast, only P5 million was released to Pangasinan, which suffered the most when typhoon “Pepeng” ravaged the country in September 2009.
“It's puzzling that the previous administration almost spent the entire fund in the first months of 2010 when, based on their experience in previous years, the typhoon season sets in during the middle or later part of the year,” Abad said.
Last Wednesday, he said it was “not unfair” to conclude that calamity fund releases to Pampanga were used to fund the election campaign of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who now the second district of Pampanga in the lower house of Congress.