MAYWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gusty winds took down trees and power lines across New Jersey on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Isaias hit the tri-state area.
The orange glow from a huge transformer fire lit up an otherwise dark sky over after the storm in Maywood Tuesday night.
The storm ransacked the area quickly, so by late afternoon, curious neighbors and their pets were coming out of their homes to check on one another and check out the damage, including debris and branches scattered across streets and yards.
Many told CBS2’s Jessica Layton they had a feeling the storm would be the worst they’ve seen in a few years.
“A lot of high winds and a lot of rain, but we have such incredible old trees around here that that’s always a shame. As you can tell, a lot of our old trees have fallen, so it’s been somewhat scary. Lost power now for about three hours, but we are Jerseyans, we’re Jersey strong,” said Jhon Velasco, of West Orange.
Velasco and his dog, Lola, are among the hundreds of thousands to lose power after winds ransacked the suburbs.
Eugene Fulop was also in the dark in Maywood after a tree in his front yard crashed, coming within inches of his house.
“I don’t know how long that’s going to be off, a day or two?” he said.
With debris covering streets and traffic lights out, authorities warn even though Isaias is long gone, driving will continue to be a challenge.
WATCH: CBS2’s Nick Caloway Reports From Long Branch
Neighbors were sheltering from the storm when a large three-story home collapsed in Long Branch.
“We just heard a loud bang,” neighbor Lee Hoagland told CBS2’s Nick Caloway.
The home was under construction on Marine Terrace, just about a block from the beach, when it was demolished by the wind.
“It was scary. Honestly, it was scary,” neighbor Mila Shpak said.
TRACKING ISAIAS: Check the latest forecast and weather alerts
Shpak rents the house next door. She watched through her window as the home went down.
“And the structure was, I don’t know, we thought it was strong. But the powerful, the wind was stronger,” she said.
No one was inside the collapsed building and no one was injured in the other home.
Firefighters said there was concern about the debris potentially become projectiles as strong winds continued.
Less than 20 miles south in Manasquan, people braved the dangerous winds to get a look at the storm’s force firsthand.
“I’m a weather fanatic, so I have to come see something like this,” said Jim Kelleher, of Wall Township.
As impressive as it is, Manasquan Mayor Ed Donovan was asking people not to go out unless absolutely necessary.
“It’s very dangerous. I would suggest people stay home,” he said.
Lifeguards like Melissa Haley were on watch to prevent people from swimming, warning that the rip currents will likely linger into Wednesday.
“Rip currents everywhere, really choppy. It’s just very, very dangerous,” Haley said.
Still, surfers wait all year for hurricane season and some say they do plan to catch some waves, despite the risk.
“You know, that’s when you get the best waves, so sometimes you have to risk a little to get the biscuit, you know what I mean?” surfer Pat Pompilio said.
— Chris Wragge (@ChrisWragge) August 4, 2020
In Wyckoff, a tree came crashing down on a mail truck at Carlton Road and Wyckoff Avenue.
Thankfully, the driver was not in the vehicle at the time and was not hurt.
WATCH: CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis Reports From Morris County
In Randolph, drivers had to deal with branches falling on their cars or running into roads blocked by downed trees.
One on Sanford Drive fell on power lines, leaving the neighborhood in the dark.
Homeowner Susan Essig is grateful it didn’t hit her home.
“I heard a big bang,” she said.
Then she discovered the tree uprooted on her front lawn, blocking the road, pulling down power lines and knocking out power.
“Thank god it didn’t hit anybody’s house,” Essig said. “I’ve been a little nervous all day because it’s kind of scary with the wind and the rain and everything.”
Reporting Power Outages In New Jersey:
The stormy day was another blow for restaurants like Morristown Diner, which had to wrap up outdoor dining for the day.
“Of course it hurts, it hurts the business. Nothing we can do, it’s Mother Nature,” said owner Peter Rotsides.
Mother Nature brought unrelenting rain and wind, making a mess in Morris County. There were flooded parking lots and trees blocking roadways, closing streets like Old Brookside Drive.
Ironia Road, in Mendham, was also dangerous to drive down, with one tree hanging on power lines, swooping over the roadway, and another lifting the pavement.
On Dover Chester Road, fire crews responded to a small brush fire caused by downed power lines.
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis met with the Morris County emergency management director, who said the 911 call center is fully staffed and crews are ready to respond to trees down and other issues.
“We’re asking people to use 911 for true emergencies. We’re concerned about wires that may be down that are co-mingled with branches and maybe co-mingled telephone lines that people may think are safe. We encourage the public to, until proven otherwise, assume that those are live wires,” OEM Director Jeffrey Paul said. “Stay safe, stay smart, stay vigilant. If you don’t need to be out, don’t go out.”
State officials instructed residents to visit Ready.NJ.Gov for the latest emergency information.