NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Tens of thousands of people in the Tri-State Area are still feeling the impact of the strong Christmas storm that swept through Thursday into Friday.
Strong winds from the powerful storm left families in New York City sitting in dark for hours on Christmas Day.
“It’s a pain because we always lose power on the service road when we have strong wind,” said Michelle Clark, who lives near Ely Avenue in the Bronx.
Clark was forced to use her generator to prepare dinner for her family.
It was the same story for Clark’s next-door neighbor Sandra Dale.
“It’s Christmas… I was cooking in the dark, and this has been going on for so long,” said Dale.
About a mile away, utility crews were wrapping up restoration work along Amundson Avenue. But another resident said the ongoing problem reached a new level this time.
“I didn’t get my dinner. I couldn’t even cook. I couldn’t get something warm to eat, and I work hard. I deserve to have a Christmas when I take a day off,” said Wilmer Burey, a frontline worker.
The vigorous storm wreaked havoc in New Jersey, knocking out power and toppling trees.
Early morning wind gusts uprooted a tree and sent it crashing on top of a house.
However, the extensive damage wasn’t the 78-year-old homeowner’s only concern. By the afternoon, water was racing down the street from a water main break that resulted in hours of repair work.
“This is an act of God,” said Joseph Carre, the homeowner’s son. “You can only roll with the punches, so to speak, when it comes to Mother Nature.”
In Glen Rock, Georgene Betterbed woke up to see her large oak tree had demolished her neighbor’s home and vehicles.
“It’s Merry Christmas… Oh my God, look at the mess,” Betterbed said to CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon.
“I heard something that sounded like a big drum. Not a crack, a drum,” she said.
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There was a similar story not far that the Muhlback home in North Haledon, where a 100′ blue spruce came crashing down.
“We were just about to get these trees taken down because we were scared that something like this was going to happen. If you look, it could have fallen on our trucks, our house,” Tracey and Ernie Muhlback told Dhillon.
Families like the Emery Paisleys in Valley Cottage, Rockland County woke up in the dark Christmas morning.
“We heard a couple of big, loud booms, and the lights flickered,” Michael Emery said.
— So Brunswick PD (@SoBrunswickPD) December 25, 2020
The family used a generator to make breakfast and get the lights on their Christmas tree to work. Jayden, Emma and Sean Paisely told Dhillon breakfast was “weird” because many extension cords were required to prepare it.
“50 degrees on Christmas and no power. Good ending to 2020, I guess,” Michael Emery said.
Next door, a similar story for their neighbors, who used their gas stove to make Christmas breakfast.
“We had bacon and eggs, no toast,” Jeanne Doran joked.
“I’m drinking instant coffee from Starbucks that expired in 2014,” Tom Doran said. “It’s like the Grinch came and stole Christmas.”
Meanwhile, back in Glen Rock, N.J., crews worked diligently throughout the day to clean up the damage form the toppled tree.
“I’m stunned because nobody was hurt… This could have been worse,” Betterbed said.
While some are frustrated, they are also thankful service was restored, and they’re hoping a permanent solution will be made to prevent it from happening again.
In response to the constant problems, the utility company said it has invested in and upgraded systems, but that storms are happening more often and leaving behind severe damage.
Reporting Power Outages
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CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.