NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Multiple rounds of severe storms brought heavy rains and dangerous winds, and knocked down trees and power lines, around the Tri-State Area late Friday.
A tornado watch was issued in the mid-afternoon and remained in effect until 10 p.m. for much of the area, including the five boroughs of New York City.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were also issued for much of the area through the afternoon and evening. A tornado warning was also issued for central Dutchess County Friday afternoon, but later expired.
As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, multiple storm cells were still active well into the night – with a risk of small hail and damaging winds remaining for some. Off the South Shore of Long Island and on Fire Island, one cell was producing 100 lightning strikes per hour.
Right in Midtown Manhattan at 10 p.m., torrential rain was soaking the streets as lightning flashed and bomb-like thunderclaps sounded.
The storms came as many were hitting the road from work, or even to the beach, for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Gusty winds, heavy rain, and hail the size of marbles were seen in some areas.
Luis Diaz captured hail pelting a deck in Elmwood Park, New Jersey.
In Southampton, Long Island, the Markley family caught a flash of lightning striking during a fireworks show.
There were scattered reports of damage from the storms around the area. Trees and power lines were down in Fairfield, New Jersey; quarter-sized hail was spotted in Freedom Plains, Dutchess County; trees were down in Arlington, Dutchess County; and live power lines were down in South Orange, New Jersey.
CBS2’s Carrasco also discovered numerous trees down in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. At least three trees came down at Morgan’s Farm & Museum, where flooding and blasting winds were also reported.
“The winds were just twisting multiple ways, and there was a lot of rain,” said John Ostering of the farm.
The storm also left Ostering’s tents twisted up.
“It was the winds, really. It was just crazy winds. It was going in all directions, and that’s what happened,” Ostering said. “When it does that, you just never know what’s going to happen.”
Anne Weinberg, director of the Learning Experience School at 1090 Pompton Ave. in Cedar Grove, was present as the storm swept through.
“It was like it dropped out of nowhere. All of a sudden, it was here, and then it was gone,” Weinberg said.
Mindful of the tornado watch, Weinberg directed the children at her school to a safe location as the storm started to roll in.
“If we get on the loudspeaker and tell you to take your kids to the bathroom – there is a tornado watch – you know, that’s where we’re going to go. And I never expected for that to really happen,” Weinberg said. “But we were standing watching the rain and could see things flying toward the building, and my thought was, ‘Oh my God, this is really happening.”
A tree from the property above the school parking lot fell onto three vehicles below. One of them belongs to Angerea Burke.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I started crying, obviously, because it’s my only way to get around, because I work and I go to school in the afternoon,” Burke said.
Several power lines also came down, as PSE&G crews worked to restore power to hundreds of residents.
Altogether as of 9:30 p.m., PSE&G reported nearly 3,100 customers out, while JCP&L reported nearly 6,000 customers – most of them in Monmouth County, WCBS 880 reported. Several hundred JCP&L customers also lost power in Morris and Hunterdon counties.
In Connecticut, Eversource saw nearly 1,200 outages, while in New York, Orange & Rockland had just over 800 customers without power and Con Edison had fewer than 200.
Flights were delayed at all three major Tri-State Area airports late Friday. Arrival delays of two hours or more two hours were seen at LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport in the late afternoon hours.
Meanwhile on the Henry Hudson Parkway, flooding prompted the closure of the southbound exit ramp at 96th Street Friday evening.
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