© AP PhotoSmashed: Residents in the Park Slope neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York circle around a car crushed by a fallen tree
At least one person has been killed after a tornado-like storm ripped through New York.

The sky turned black and tornado-like squalls torn through the city stranding ten of thousands of commuters.

Officials suspended access to overcrowded Pennsylvania Station in midtown Manhattan, where people were locked shoulder to shoulder after fallen trees forced a halt to commuter rail traffic.

Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens were hit hardest by the storm. Locals used axes to hack at trees that in some cases had crashed across stairways and front porches, trapping people inside homes.

Winds reached up to 100mph shut down roads and power lines leaving 70,000 customers without power.

© Getty ImagesA householder looks at a tree that fell on an SUV on 11th Street between 5th and 4th Avenues in the Brooklyn borough of New York City
The city's 911 switchboards were inundated with calls of injuries, a Fire Department spokesman said. He said several firefighters responded to scenes in Queens and Brooklyn where motorists were stuck in their vehicles after trees fell on them.

'It was like Iraq's the front line,' one man told NY1, the city's all-news television station.

'It felt like the Wizard of Oz,' a woman told the station.

Others described whooshing noises, train-like rumblings and the sounds of loud cracks as lightning struck and trees snapped.

'I actually started to pray. I was very frightened,' Antonia Ritorto of Staten Island's Tottenville neighbourhood said.

© AP PhotoStorm damage: A man steps through fallen branches in the Park Slope neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York
According to the National Weather Service, tornado warnings for Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island were called off at about 6pm.

While a tornado was never officially declared, a trained weather spotter reported seeing a funnel cloud near Staten Island.

Brandon Smith, a meteorologist with the weather service, said experts on Friday would determine if a tornado did hit by looking at debris.

'The way the damage lies on the ground can give you a lot of hints,' he said.

'It came so quickly. The sky got so dark. The rain was sideways and the water was coming in through the windows.'

© Getty ImagesHome help: Neighbours clear fallen trees and debris off of cars on 11th Street between 5th and 4th Avenues in Brooklyn after the fierce storm
© Getty ImagesDamage: Tree limbs lies fallen against a house on 11th Street between 5th and 4th Avenues
© Getty ImagesDowned trees and other debris lie on a street in Park Slope following a late afternoon storm
© Reuters'It was like the Wizard of Oz': the storm is just the latest instance of weird weather to hit New York. In February the city registered its heaviest snowfall and this summer was the hottest on record
© Getty ImagesFirefighters clean fallen trees on 6th Avenue in the Brooklyn borough of New York City