UPDATED 02/25/16 12:21 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — High winds brought down trees, caused accidents, knocked out power and even caused buildings to collapse around the Tri-State Area late Wednesday.
The severe weather prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to issue a travel advisory through early Thursday morning for New York City.
A tornado watch was finally called off just after midnight for Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties in northern New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service. The watch had been in place since the early evening hours.
The tornado watch was in effect for much of the evening for central and southern New Jersey, as well as the Philadelphia area, CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.
A tornado watch means that the conditions are right to produce a tornado, while a warning means a tornado has been sighted.
A watch means while no tornado has been sighted, the puzzle pieces are all in place for a tornado to happen.
A severe thunderstorm warning was also in place until 12:30 a.m. for the five boroughs of New York City; Westchester County; and Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union counties in New Jersey.
A severe thunderstorm watch was also to continue for much of the area until 2 a.m.
A wind advisory was issued until 4 a.m. Thursday for most shoreline communities – including the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester County, Long Island, the entire state of Connecticut, and central and southern New Jersey.
A flash flood warning was also in place for some parts of central New Jersey.
Mayor de Blasio announced late Wednesday that a travel advisory would be in effect for New York City from Wednesday evening through early Thursday morning.
“We’re expecting strong winds and some thunderstorms this evening,” the mayor said in a statement. “New Yorkers should be very careful driving and walking tonight.”
The Mayor’s office advised that anyone who must drive should monitor weather and road conditions and stick to major streets or highways. Slow driving is also a must, the Mayor’s office said.
People should also avoid walking or driving through flooded streets, given that as few as 6 inches of moving water can knock a person over, and one to two feet of water can carry away a vehicle.
Indeed, getting around was unpleasant at best Wednesday night.
In New Brunswick, New Jersey, heavy rain soaked people as they walked down the streets and umbrellas provided little to no relief. CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported.
The rain also caused ponding and flooding in some areas. In South Brunswick at Raymond Road and Route 1 southbound, drivers splashed through high waters.
And of course, the whipping winds only intensified as the night continued.
The winds were so strong that a tree snapped and came down on wires at Route 27 and Omaha Road in North Brunswick. Traffic was shut down as crews worked.
And that was far from the only place in the area that saw major problems.
In Elmsford, Westchester County, there was a fiery scene when live power lines fell onto the wet road.
A sidewalk shed collapsed in the wind on Scholes Street in the Williamsburg Houses development in Brooklyn, 1010 WINS reported. A collapse was also reported in a building that was believed to be vacant at 183rd Street and Beaumont Avenue in the Bronx.
And in New Milford, New Jersey, a tree about 50 feet long fell right onto a house. The tree snapped in the middle of the trunk and practically covered the back portion of the home, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.
“I was having dinner and all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, boom, and it was like the sky falling and I said thunder, bigger than thundering noise, and I said, ‘Oh s**t, the tree probably fell,’” said homeowner Kevoik Kadehjian.
A source told CBS2’s Tony Aiello the truck was headed east toward New York City and flipped over – and into the westbound lanes – due to high winds.
There was also a diesel fuel spill reported, the source said. The trailer was reported to be empty, the source said.
No injuries were immediately reported in the accident, the source said.
Rail commuters were also affected. Metro-North Hudson Line customers traveling near Irvington-Ardsley were delayed up to 20 minutes due to a downed tree.
And at LaGuardia Airport, a fence also blew down onto a taxicab.
Delays were reported at all three major Tri-State Area airports due to low clouds as of 9:25 p.m.
At Newark Liberty International Airport, some arriving flights were delayed an average of more than an hour and a half, and departing flights were delayed up to an hour and 45 minutes.
At LaGuardia Airport, some arriving flights were delayed up to two hours and 23 minutes, and departures were delayed up to an hour and 15 minutes.
At John F. Kennedy International Airport, some arriving flights were delayed more than four hours, while some departures were delayed by about 45 minutes – with delays increasing.
Tens of thousands of customers were also without power around the area.
As of 11 p.m., Con Edison reported 10,590 customers without power, Jersey Central Power and Light reported 8,692, and Public Service Electric & Gas in New Jersey reported 17,012.
And with the high winds in the forecast, the New York City Department of Buildings also issued an order to secure all cranes by 6 p.m.
New restrictions went into effect earlier this month after a crawler crane collapsed on Worth Street in Tribeca, leaving a pedestrian dead.
Cranes are now required to go into safety mode when winds are forecast to hit 20 mph. Crane engineers who fail to comply face citations and fines of up to $10,000.