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In Wind-Weary Forest Hills, A Familiar Sight

Residents are no strangers to downed trees after macroburst, tropical storm and hurricane.

At around 10:30 Tuesday morning, Ken Parant crawled out of his second floor window on 70th Avenue and onto his roof. With a curious German Shepherd standing sentry at the window behind him, Parant began to pick broken glass off of his shingles.

Just a few feet away, a massive fallen tree had taken down his fence, popped his window pane and forcefully pushed an air conditioning unit back into his bedroom.

Despite the damage, Parant considered himself lucky. The tree had missed smashing his living room by less than a foot. Its branches, mangled on the ground on top of a chain link fence, could have shredded a lot more than just his lawn.

"I was sitting in the bedroom, right here," Parant pointed at the broken window. "All of a sudden the air conditioner comes flying into the room."

As a 14-year resident of Forest Hills, Parant has seen the vicious storms that have whipped through the neighborhood over the last two-plus years. He knows their power first hand. Tuesday morning's fallen tree wasn't the first he's lost.

It was the sixth.

"I've had four trees along the side, and three up front," Parant said. "One of them was technically on my neighbor's property, but it fell this way." 

He gestured across his lawn, which was now camoflaged by the downed tree's still-green leaves.

Seamus O'Dowd, a 35-year resident, said he was actually relieved that Hurricane Sandy seemed to take particular mercy on Forest Hills, compared to the 2010 macroburst that came and went in almost an instant.

"The tornado was sudden and swift and overwith," O'Dowd said. "I couldn't come out my front door, the trees were piled up to the roof. I had to go out the back door." 

O'Dowd said he was surprised at how light the damage was in the neighborhood, between flooding earlier this summer and the storms of years past.

"The rain was harmless, really, the rain we got here in Forest Hills," he said. "If it had happened, we would have had a different story, with basements being backed up."

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