ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A major cleanup was underway Wednesday in Morris County, where many trees came tumbling down during Tuesday night’s storm.
An EF-1 tornado touched down in Stanhope and Hopatcong, tossing branches and downing trees.
Residents in one neighborhood said they received a tornado alert on their cellphones, adding they heard what sounded like a freight train coming through seconds later, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
Homeowners have been working all day to clear fallen trees and branches before more storms rolle din. Some homes are uninhabitable after trees crashed down.
Chopper 2 was over the scene off Kingsland Road in Roxbury Township, capturing images of trees down, including some that smashed through homes.
From the ground, Gainer got a closer look at the mess. One tree fell on a homeowner’s garage, crushing it, while also damaging the next-door neighbor’s roof.
“It was just one loud bang, actually like two bangs and it shook the whole house,” homeowner Ron Hower said.
Branches actually pierced the bedroom and bathroom ceilings of the home, knocking the closet doors right off the hinges.
“Just devastated … I’m just devastated,” homeowner Joyce Rauh said. “I don’t know. I guess it could be worse.”
Thankfully, they were not in the bedroom when it happened.
Of the neighbors Gainer talked to on one particular street, all of them were not near the falling trees, including the homeowners two houses down. One said he was standing in the middle of his storm doors when the tree fell.
Residents said it all happened so quickly, within seconds of receiving the tornado alert on their phones.
“Within 30 seconds the tree was on top of the house,” said resident Stella Canfield. “By the time we turned around to get to our basement it was over. It was that fast.”
Web Extra: Drone Force 2 Over Storm-Ravaged Hopatcong, N.J.:
As homeowners waited Wednesday for insurance companies and help getting the trees cut and cleared, utility crews were out dealing with the power lines.
“I estimate we probably have between 50-75 homes in the area that have major damage,” said Bob Hackett, the director of the Roxbury Township Office of Emergency Management and chief of the local fire department. “Stay away from wires. You always treat a wire as live if it’s not sparking. It’s very, very dangerous. The power companies are out trying to make the area safe.”
Many residents were still without power.