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Strong Winds Damage Store, Down Trees & Power Lines In New Jersey

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – March is living up to its reputation as wicked winds whipped across New York and New Jersey, making a blast of Arctic air feel even colder.

Forecasters said strong west to northwest winds of 20 to 30 mph packed gusts up to 45 mph.

A wind advisory was in effect for northeast New Jersey, New York City and Long Island for most of Thursday, but it has since expired.

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The strong winds damaged buildings and downed tree limbs and power lines, causing some problems on the roads and rails.

In Flanders, N.J., police said the high winds lifted off a small section of a roof at the Bed, Bath & Beyond store on International Drive.

Debris damaged some gas lines, sparking a small fire on the roof, which was quickly extinguished by firefighters, Mt. Olive Police Officer Mike Russell told 1010 WINS.

New Jersey Natural Gas was called to the scene to shut down the gas line.

The store was evacuated and remained closed as repairs were made.

No injuries were reported.

In Park Ridge, N.J., police said two power poles snapped after winds knocked down a tree on Broadway around 4 a.m., CBS 2′s Christine Sloan reported.

“It was very, very windy this morning. When I came, the road was shut down,” said business owner Nick Donato.

The road was closed as crews from the electric department and PSE&G assessed the damage and made repairs.

And since the road was closed, so was Donato’s insurance business.

“Our clients can’t get here, but that is OK, nobody got hurt,” Donato said.

Crews were seen chopping up the massive tree Thursday afternoon, Sloan reported.

PATH service was suspended for more than an hour between Newark and Journal Square after strong winds damaged a Conrail overhead wire pole causing it to lean over the tracks just west of the Journal Square station, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.

A crane was brought in to make repairs and service was restored around 10:45 a.m.

Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Buildings said all construction sites and buildings should have been secured due to the high winds.

The buildings department issued the reminder to builders, contractors and property owners. It also conducted random inspections of construction sites around the city and warned it would take immediate enforcement action if the sites were not properly secured.

In Ossining, Westchester County, a church steeple teetered on the edge, wobbling because of high winds and frightening even the most faithful, Sloan reported.

“God forbid it does fall and hits someone or a car. It’s an unfortunate situation,” said witness Karina Salvador.

“It’s not structurally sound right now with the high winds that we’re having,” said Ossining’s Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Scarduzio.

Back in Park Ridge, crews were transferring power lines to a new pole and said they hoped to have the entire area cleaned up and the road reopened by late Thursday.

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