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Violent Thunderstorms Wreak Havoc On Tri-State Area

Tremendous Combo Of Rain, Thunder & Lightning Leaves Residents Startled
Four lightning bolts strike New Jersey amid storms on June 25, 2012. (credit: Andy Rostron)

Four lightning bolts strike New Jersey amid storms on June 25, 2012. (credit: Andy Rostron)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More rain and lightning walloped the Tri-State Area on Monday.

The latest series of storms came after the skies opened up over the region, bringing drenching downpours, pounding thunder and flashes of lightning.

During the morning rush hour, a dangerous storm barreled through the region, bringing 100 to 200 lightning strikes every five minutes, according to the National Weather Service.

MORE: Forecast | Traffic and Transit

At one point, 20,000 Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) customers were without power. Con Edison had a few hundred customers without power in Westchester County. Several outages were also reported in Connecticut and New Jersey.

CHECK OUTAGES: Con Ed | NYSEG | LIPA | Orange And Rockland | PSE&G | JCP&L | CL&P

Tables crashed and glass shattered after water spouts swirled off Northport Harbor onto porches.

Chloe Martinetti, 9, described the situation as “pretty scary.”

“Everything was blowing everywhere,” she said.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs On The Story

The Long Island Rail Road was experiencing delays system-wide because of weather-related signal problems. Click here to check your train’s status.

The violent storm also collapsed power lines as it surged across the North Shore, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

All morning rain pounded and roads flooded. The commute through Melville was harrowing and dangerous and street lights in Hempstead were out for miles.

Lightning and thunder forced children in Nassau day camps out of swimming pools and off fields. In Huntington, frightened families narrowly escaped toppled trees.

“It was just so tremendous,” Flo Rosof told CBS 2’s McLogan. “I don’t think I’ve heard anything so strong.”

The storm also hammered sections of Dutchess County, not once, but twice Monday.

The power went out in Dover Plains about the time a big tree and attendant limbs came down on old Route 22, hitting a parked car and closing the road and putting everyone in the area in the dark. Some of the fallen wires also went up in flames.

It was especially nerve racking for the folks living in light-weight modular homes.  The lights went out again and stayed off until mid-afternoon when the rains returned.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane: Lightning Hits Church Steeple

Lighting apparently struck the steeple of St. Anthony of Padua Parish at Victory Boulevard and Burke Avenue on Staten Island around 8: 15 a.m.

St. Anthony of Padua Church - Staten Island, NY - Jun 25, 2012 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

St. Anthony of Padua Church – Staten Island, NY – Jun 25, 2012 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

“The church tower was hit with lightning and flames were shooting out all over it,” church receptionist Mildred Aleski told 1010 WINS.

The lightning took the priest, who was saying his morning prayers, by surprise.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“I heard this gigantic firecracker going off,” Father John Wrobleski said. “It startled me, I jumped, I literally jumped up.”

Fire officials quickly responded and extinguished the blaze. No injuries were reported.

Wrobleski said there is “minimal damage” to the upper most area of the steeple and slight water damage. He plans to mention the act of nature in his final mass this Sunday.

Westchester residents also felt the jolt from all the lightning strikes.

Diane Kaiden told CBS 2 she was enjoying her morning coffee and watching the passing storm when she saw a lightning bolt hit her neighbor’s house.

“I said, ‘Oh my god, that’s really close,'” Kaiden said.

The New Rochelle Fire Department happened to be right next door at the time of the incident, responding to a burglar alarm that was set off by the storm.

“I got a call from the developer who told me my house was on fire,” homeowner Barry Berger said. “Luckily the fire department was next door at a false alarm otherwise they said the house would have burned.”

The lightning strike left a hole in the roof of Berger’s home but no one inside the residence was injured.

In Connecticut, two workers at a North Stonington golf course were injured after they were knocked over by a nearby lightning strike as they sought shelter. Other workers who were inside an enclosed, grounded building were injured after lightning struck nearby. The manager of the golf course said the workers are expected to be OK.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams: Lightning Starts Fire At Senior Center

In Manalapan, N.J., a building in the Covered Bridge senior complex was apparently struck by a bolt of lightning, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.

“I heard a big bang from the lightning, and I smelled smoke, and I looked in every room in my place, and I didn’t see any smoke,” resident Sonia Abadynski said. “Then I saw a neighbor come down, and I said, ‘What’s happening? I smell smoke?’ and he said the roof was on fire.”

The fire devoured a handful of units, but everyone escaped, Adams reported.

“I have nothing, wasn’t able to take anything out, my medicines or anything,” Abadynski said.

The mayor said it’s a close-knit community and they’ll take care of those who lost everything.