Reporting John Elliott
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork.com) – Winds whipped across the Tri-State on Wednesday as the region wrestled with a day of heavy rain and severe weather that downed trees — killing at least one person – knocked out power and slowed commuters.
Fifty mile per hour wind gusts and heavy rain are expected to last into the evening. The wind and rain was too much for several area trees.
The driver of a black Lincoln Town Car was killed after a tree came crashing down on the vehicle around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on Macopin Road in West Milford, N.J. A female passenger was rushed to an area hospital with severe head trauma.
Another tree toppled over in Leonia, N.J., forcing emergency officials to block off a road at Grand View Terrace.
“From the street it looks like a few branches simply fell on the roof of a home, but from the back you can see that an entire tree snapped and landed on a home,” CBS 2′s Elise Finch said.
Firefighters said it ripped a hole in the roof and smashed a beam in the kitchen. Fortunately no one was injured because no one was home at the time.
The homeowners were at work when they received the call of the damage, and afterward they were packing because they had to leave. There was no word on how long they would have to stay outside the house.
“Major structural damage, broke through the ridge beam. No one was home. No one was injured. At this point we’re just trying to secure all the utilities and salvage as much of the property as possible,” one firefighter said.
Power was knocked out to thousands across the Tri-State area. Con Edison spokesman Chris Olert said there were 4,600 power outages in Westchester County, while 800 customers were without power in the Bronx and 1,600 in Queens.
Olert warned that downed power lines can be very dangerous, and residents should be very careful around them.
“If they see a downed wire… stay away from it,” Olert said. “Treat any wire that’s down as if it’s live.”
Jersey Central Power and Lighting had 18,500 outages, and LIPA was reporting 3,300 outages, mostly in Hempstead.
PSE&G said 5,000 customers in Teaneck were without power following a transformer fire at a substation. About 900 customers in Englewood were left in the dark due to a weather-related issue on a circuit. The company said about 4,700 other customers were also experiencing outages.
The Statue Of Liberty was shut down as the storm battered the metropolitan area.
The wind snapped a huge, lighted Christmas tree at the South Street Seaport. No injuries were reported.
High winds caused the city to put travel restrictions into effect on some bridges. All trucks were briefly banned from using the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Brooklyn and Staten Island.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on its website that some flights were delayed by up to five hours at area airports. LaGuardia is currently experiencing delays of up to 3 hours; JFK nearly 4 hours and Newark Airport is experiencing delays of up to 5 hours.
In the Big Apple, buildings officials have also put the word out to contractors and property owners to secure their construction sites – scaffolding, cranes, hoists and anything else that could blow around.
“We’re looking at noon as a critical time where we could see some showers and thunderstorms developing. And then by the afternoon rush, parts of the area to the west may see a break and we’ll have lingering heavy rain for the twin forks,” said CBS 2HD meteorologist Elliott.
Wednesday’s high will reach 60, which is higher than the normal 48 and short of the record 70 set in 2006.
“The saving grace is that it’s pretty mild today,” said Elliott. “Overnight tonight into Thursday we’ll start to see drier air, but it will be quite a bit cooler.”
A flood watch was in effect north and west of the City until Thursday morning where an excess of two inches of rain was possible. This alert is issued when when flooding is possible but not imminent.
Wild Weather Around the Tri-State
Wicked Weather Causing Airport Delays
Tough Road Home for Commuters
Storm Turns Deadly in West Milford
Homes Damaged from Wild Storm
Thursday: High 43, Low 31
Sunny. Cooler with highs in the mid 40s. Northwest winds around 10 mph.
Friday: High 45, Low 31
Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 40s. West winds around 10 mph.
Saturday: High 43, Low 39
Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 40s.
Sunday: High 41, Low 29
Partly sunny. Highs in the lower 40s.
Severe Weather Watches & Advisories:
Areal Flood Advisory in NJ – Bergen , Coastal Ocean , Eastern Monmouth , Eastern Passaic , Essex , Hunterdon , Mercer , Middlesex , Morris , Northwestern Burlington , Ocean , Somerset , Southeastern Burlington , Union , Western Monmouth , Western Passaic
Wind Advisory – Bronx , Delaware , Eastern Columbia , Eastern Dutchess , Eastern Ulster , Kings (Brooklyn) , Nassau , New York (Manhattan) , Northeast Suffolk , Northern Westchester , Northwest Suffolk , Orange , Putnam , Queens , Richmond (Staten Is.) , Rockland , Southeast Suffolk , Southern Westchester , Southwest Suffolk , Sullivan , Western Dutchess , Western Ulster