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Severe Storms Pound Tri-State Area, Cause Flooding And Damage

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A round of severe storms plowed into the Tri-State Area late Friday afternoon – causing floods in area roads, downed trees, and delays of nearly five hours for arriving flights at some airports.

The line of hazardous storms blew into the area with hail, wind gusts of 58 mph or more, and lightning, in the middle of the evening rush.

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A flash flood watch has been issued until midnight Friday night for the five boroughs of New York City, northern New Jersey, and the north suburbs and Hudson Valley. The watch was to be in effect until midnight Friday night.

PHOTOS: Storms Sock Tri-State Area

Damaged and downed trees were reported in several parts of New Jersey as a result of the storms.

The downed tree crews were busy Friday evening in Midland Park, New Jersey in particular, where Jean Marie Shea told CBS 2’s Lou Young she had a tree land on the hood of her sport-utility vehicle.

“I was driving up the hill in the storm, and the first part of the tree fell right in front of me, and I was trying to back up, and in that split second, the second tree came down and fell on my hood,” Shea said.

“It was like a little tornado,” added John Westdyke of Midland Park.

Around the corner, a larger tree pulled down power lines on Payne Avenue in Midland Park, crushing a utility pole and putting much of the area in the dark.

“All of a sudden, I saw the lightning hit, and the wires lit up, and the tree came down,” said Carole Biswurm.

“This tree is 62 years old,” added neighbor Mildred Miller.

And the storm also toppled a massive double oak tree onto the home of Bernie and Elsie Bernager in Hoboken, punching through their bedroom and crushing their front porch. Bernie Bernager called it a “nightmare.”

“Everything went black, and then all of a sudden, a big boom. It was loud, and I walked a little bit, and I felt wood, so I didn’t go any further,” Elsie Bernager said.

Bernie Bernager said it could have been a lot worse.

“We usually sit on the front porch every night,” Bernie Bernager said. “For some reason, tonight, we were both off the front porch.”

Amazingly, there were no injuries reported. But witnesses said the storm blew through in eight minutes – soup to nuts. Trees were toppled, and lights went dark.

“You heard a lot of wind, and it was all dark outside. It just went bang,” said Pamela Dorsett.

It was flashlights and candles for those closest to the damage Friday evening. There were no injuries, but it was not a great omen for the long warm-weather season ahead.

Trees also came down and knocked out power to an entire neighborhood in Ridgewood, New Jersey, CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported.

At Hamilton and Parson roads in Ridgewood, the trees brought down power lines, landed on top of cars at home, and even brought up sections of the sidewalk.

The top of one tree was completely sheared off in the storm, and all of the branches ended up on top of the home.

Nearby, lightning split another tree in half – leaving part of it is standing, and the other part is down on the ground.

Residents said they were surprised by the amount of damage the fast-moving storm caused.

Storms brought down a tree in Ridgewood, N.J. on Friday, June 13. (Credit: CBS 2)

Storms brought down a tree in Ridgewood, N.J. on Friday, June 13. (Credit: CBS 2)

“Coming out of the west, you could see some very black clouds coming in, and when suddenly the wind came up – this was before it really started raining — and it really, really was blowing hard,” said Peter Goodman. “And the rain was looking like a tropical rainforest kind of rain, and suddenly that got so dense, you couldn’t even see from here to the street. And suddenly, all the trees just went down.”

Residents of Ridgewood said anytime there is a powerful storm, trees in their neighborhood tend to fall. But it’s been a while since it’s been as severe as it was Friday night.

Also as a result of the storms, delays of almost three hours for arrivals and one hour for departures were reported Newark Liberty International Airport as of the 9 p.m. hour.

Delays of three hours were also reported for arrivals at LaGuardia Airport, and delays of nearly four hours for arrivals and two hours for departures were reported at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Widespread flooding was also reported. Dawes Highway in Passaic County, Route 10 in Essex County, and underpasses along Main Street and Route 27 in Middlesex County were also rendered impassable due to flooding.

In Manhattan, the heavy rain also caused flooding at Penn Station. A commuter shot cellphone video of the entrance near the A, C and E subway lines.

NJ TRANSIT trains were affected so severely that Morris & Essex Line service was suspended until further notice Friday night between Madison and Dover due to storm damage.

Buses operated between the two municipalities, and customers going to Denville or Dover were advised to use Montclair-Boonton Line trains from Hoboken. Repairs were expected to continue overnight.

And in all, more than 15,000 customers across the Tri-State Area were without power as a result of the storm as of 10:30 p.m., WCBS 880 reported. More than 12,000 of those customers were in Bergen and Hudson counties in New Jersey, Public Service Electric & Gas reported.

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