Storms cause flooding, damage

December 15, 2010 11:43:09 AM PST
A line of severe storms sparked tornado warnings and caused flooding and damage. No tornadoes were immediately confirmed, but the National Weather Service said they are looking into three possible tornado touchdowns in our area. The same storm may have produced tornadoes in Wantage, N.J., Unionville, N.Y. and Westtown, N.Y. The storm moved north along Route 284 from Sussex County into Orange County. The NWS will send staffers to the area on Thursday to confirm if they were tornadoes.

Eyewitness News viewers reported seeing a funnel cloud touch down in Wantage, New Jersey in northwestern Sussex County. Several people captured images of the funnel cloud with cell phones or cameras.

The Wantage town administrator told Eyewitness News they suffered extensive storm damage in town. He said a number of barns were demolished, homes were hit by trees and trees were uprooted. The fire department, state police and public works were working around town. The most damage is located around Route 23 and County Route 519.

RAW VIDEO: Viewer video of funnel cloud in New Jersey
SLIDESHOW: Viewer weather photos

Flooded underpasses forced the closure of stretches of the Garden State Parkway at midafternoon Wednesday in Irvington and Newark. Portions of Route 287 in Edison and Route 280 in West Orange were flooded as well.

The storms also knocked out power to 25,000 customers, mainly in Hunterdon, Morris and Essex counties and disrupted rail service on some PATH and NJ Transit lines.

Train service on the Newark to WTC line was temporarily suspended. PATH service remained suspended from Newark to Journal Square in both directions through rush hour. New Jersey Transit honored PATH tickers at Penn Station New York and at Newark Penn Station.

In Essex County, Garden State Parkway was closed in both directions at Exit 143 in Irvington shortly after 3:00 p.m. About four feet of water flooded the roadway. Crews had to pump the water off the roadway before the highway was reopened.

New Jersey Transit was reporting 30 to 60 minute delays on Morris and Essex lines due to a downed tree in Millburn. Several downed trees and wires were reported in Millburn.

A tree fell also across the tracks at Woodland Road in the Short Hills section. The tree did not take down overhead power lines, so workers were able to quickly chop it up. The tree was removed from one of the two tracks in the area.

In Hunterdon County, several houses were struck by lightning. Trees were also reported down.

At least two houses were struck by lightning in Hillsborough. One was struck by lightning on Zion Road on Sourland Mountain. Another was hit on Ichabod Crane Lane in the Belle Meade section.

There were no reports of injuries.

Downed wires were reported Sunnymeade and Falcom roads in Hillsborough.

Downed wires and street flooding were reported in Somerset, Morris and Union Counties.

Officials on Staten Island reported more than four thousand power outages throughout the afternoon and evening. Crews were hoping to restore all power overnight.

The lights came back on along Page Avenue at 9:15. After more than three hours without power, many home and business owners were feeling the pinch.

Huge bolts of lightning shot across the sky as the afternoon storms whipped across Staten Island.

A 46-year-old woman was burned outside the Richmond County Family Court building when the scaffolding she was holding was struck by lightning.

The torrential rains caused local flooding. Some drivers narrowly made it through the wet roadways, while others were not as lucky.

"It just got deeper and deeper," Jerry Rea said.

Con Ed reported that more than two thousand Tottenville residents lost their power. The Tottenville 24 hour bagel shop remained open with some modifications.

"We got a lantern from Home Depot. We're using a calculator to keep track of everything," manager Joe Garafolo said.

Ten seconds after our interview, the lights went back on and Joe was all smiles.


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