MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Cleanup is underway in New Jersey after powerful storms downed trees and power lines across parts of the state.

Roofers Wednesday morning were seen climbing around the Children’s Day Nursery and Family Centers in Passaic, where students were inside as the forceful gusts blew part of the roof down to the street below.

“They were a little curious, nervous about what was happening,” Executive Director Sue Dannemiller told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.

Dannemiller said about 10 kids were there at the time. When staff realized what happened, the kids who had not been picked up were evacuated to a nearby firehouse. The damage was confined to the attic.

“They almost didn’t realize it was our building,” she said.

The ferocious winds and downpours caught some off guard.

“My truck was moving like I was on the Tappan Zee Bridge and the wind was blowing 80 miles an hour,” said Rob Bianco, superintendent of Montclair Public Works. “My truck was moving, parked in the parking lot.”

“We were driving home and I was afraid a tree was going to fall in the car because the winds were so strong,” said Montclair resident Joy Parisi.

A tree fell in front of the Parisi home on Walnut Street, snapped at its base and toppling onto a car, taking wires down with it.

“The winds were crazy,” Parisi said. “This tree was healthy. It looks like it just got twisted up.”

There were similar scenes across Northern New Jersey, including in Ho-Ho-Kus, where a massive tree uprooted across a homeowner’s yard.

A car at a dealership in Clifton was burned to its shell after catching fire from live wires.

In Paterson, a falling tree tore the entire wall off of the top floor of an apartment building. And in Glen Ridge, a massive tree crushed a car while the driver was inside. The man had to be rescued and survived.

“The tree fell as he was driving down the street and he was stuck inside the car,” said Glen Ridge Police Lt Timothy Faranda. “The fire department had to get him out of the car and he was transported to the hospital.”

Public works crews still playing catch up from the winter are now left with even more to do.

“We haven’t finished cleaning up the storms from March,” said Bianco. “We still have a ton of trees to take down, now we’re gonna have a ton more.”

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service says the stores also created a small weather generated tsunami off the Jersey coast.

Known as a meteotsunami, it resulted in fluctuating water levels for several hours Tuesday. But there were no reports of damage from the event.

The abnormally high tides were reported in areas from Perth Amboy in New Jersey to Delaware’s Fenwick Island.

Officials say meteotsunamis are driven by air-pressure disturbances often associated with fast-moving weather events, such as severe thunderstorms, squalls, and other storm fronts. Most meteotsunamis are too small to notice.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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