NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Powerful winds downed trees,branches and power lines across the Tri-State Area Monday.
A wind advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. for much of the area and a high wind warning was issued for parts of the Jersey coast.
CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported the winds were near hurricane strength in some areas. In White Plains, gusts amounted to 72 mph; 74 mph is the minimum wind strength to categorize a Category 1 hurricane.
Winds reached 64 mph at Jones Beach; 61 mph at LaGuardia Airport; 56 mph at Glen Cove; 55 mph in Stamford, Connecticut; and 44 mph in Central Park.
By 11 p.m., the wind advisory was no longer in effect. But as CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, strong gusts persisted in some areas.
In Massapequa Park, utility poles were nearly snapped in half – and PSEG Long Island trucks had to be brought in to support them. The power lines attached to the poles nearly came down, and the poles themselves came dangerously close to falling.
“They’re 90 foot poles, so they would have come across Sunrise Highway,” said PSEG Director of Communications Jeffrey Weir, “so thankfully the lines held. It did hold as it should. But the poles are comprised so we need to get them replaced.”
The power lines run parallel to LIRR tracks. They were the reason why service on the Babylon Line suspended most of the evening in both directions between Seaford and Amityville.
“It absolutely had to happen,” Weir said. “It was an unsafe condition until we could get the trucks in here to stabilize the poles.”
The wind-related problems were an all-day event.
PSEG Long Island said it would be a long process to repair the poles. Crews will be working through the night, into the morning to make sure it is safe for the LIRR to re-open here.
And then a mile from that scene – a massive tree once stood about 60 feet tall until the whipping winds uprooted it. The tree narrowly missed a home at the corner of Pittsburgh Avenue and Pacific Street in Massapequa.
Branches were left covering the sidewalk, where neighborhood children wait for the school bus.
“Every morning I walk to that corner, and me and my friends wait there for like a good five minutes, and if it was two hours earlier, we could have gotten seriously hurt,” said John Dilena.
In Roselle, New Jersey, a family eating dinner was terrified as a tree crashed through their home — causing the roof to nearly cave in on top of them.
“It sounded like an earthquake,” a family member said. “The house started to shake. Once the tree hit, we felt the impact — we just got up.”
The wind caused problems around the area throughout the day. As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, the winds ripped down structures across New York City and the surrounding area.
In New Rochelle, it was a life-threatening drive for one woman when wind knocked a tree branch into her windshield on Quake Ridge Road.
“The next thing I know glass breaks and my windshield breaks, and I tried to get out, and then I get out, and then I realize my car was still going,” said Jessica Bereck.
Watching what happened, the driver behind got out of her car and ran to help.
“She was trying to stop the car with the branch and… it’s just too much,” said Good Samaritan Adriana Goldberg.
This was not the only downed tree to stop traffic in New Rochelle on Monday. Another one that was at least 50 feet tall was uprooted in Overlook Circle and fell across the road.
Meanwhile, broken branches and debris covered North Avenue where a fallen tree shut down lanes of traffic.
The wind was relentless. Just to the south in the Edenwald section of the Bronx, at least two trees hit the ground.
They FDNY said a tree and wires came down around 10:20 a.m. on Mickle Avenue. Another larger tree fell across Paulding Avenue, blocking the street.
There were no reports of injuries in either incident, but residents were left shaken.
In Lower Manhattan, glass panels on the Millenium Hilton, at 55 Church St., fell to the roadway below Monday morning. The sidewalk was closed off for hours.
This was the second time this year that glass panels have broken off the hotel.
Over in Queens, a snapped tree on 94th Avenue in Woodhaven brought residents’ fear to a reality.
“I complained to the city and they didn’t do anything,” one woman said. “I told them the tree is rotten, and I’m scared.”
Not far on 174th Street just off the Long Island Expressway in Fresh Meadows, crews cleaned up the collapsed overhang of a gas pumping station.
“Huge strong wind outside, and it was moving like that,” said witness Amunil Chowahary. “It’s not fully fell off, now it’s hanging, and it’s moving.”
In Glen Cove, police said a tree fell onto the side of the house on Buckeye Road, “totally destroying” the front den and bedroom.
The 60-year-old homeowner had just gotten out of the bed when the tree fell.
“She woke up, she went to take a shower and the tree fell on the bed as she was in the shower,” the woman’s brother-in-law, Tom Olsen, told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “So she was very fortunate.”
The homeowner herself was so shaken up, she didn’t want to speak with CBS2.
“She can’t get her clothing — the closet was on the other side of the wall, so she’s a little out of sorts,” Olsen said.
The tree slamming into the house caused a gas leak and the gas had to be turned off. Firefighters said the tree hit a gas line and the whole house could have exploded, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
The house now has a notice on the door saying that it is temporarily deemed unsafe. It will take an architect and the building inspector to determine whether or not the house will become a total loss.
Problems were spread throughout the Tri-State Area. In Rockaway Township, New Jersey, a tree fell onto a car while a woman was driving. She was not injured.
In Paterson, an electricity pole crashed onto a parked car.
In addition to the LIRR, downed trees and power lines also snarled the commute for some NJ TRANSIT and Metro-North riders.
The Metro-North Harlem Line was suspended for much of the afternoon due to downed trees near Hawthorne. There were also delays on the New Haven and Danbury lines due to fallen trees.
NJ TRANSIT’S Morris & Essex line was suspended between Dover and Summit due to a fallen tree on overhead wires at Morris Plains, but service was later restored.
Major delays were also seen at area airports. As of 7:30 p.m. arrivals at Newark Liberty International Airport were delayed 2 hours and 26 minutes late Monday afternoon, while arrivals at LaGuardia Airport were delayed an average of 2 hours and 8 minutes.
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Numerous customers were also left without power by the blasting winds. A total of 2,932 Con Edison customers were without power late Monday, along with 2,305 Orange and Rockland customers, 1,981 JCP&L customers, 744 PSEG Long Island customers, and 413 PSE&G customers in New Jersey.
JCP&L advised customers that they can pick up water and ice free of charge.
Across the city, construction projects were limited by the conditions. The Department of Buildings issued an advisory for workers to suspend crane and hoist operations, tie down equipment and debris and to take extra precautions.
The winds are on the tail end of a major storm system that is hitting upstate New York and New England that has already dumped a foot of snow in some places.
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