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Thousands still without power in NJ

August 1, 2009 2:21:30 PM PDT
Nearly 8,000 utility customers remained without power in New Jersey on Saturday, a day after severe storms roared through the region. Crews across the state continued to clear downed trees and repair power lines and equipment damaged by the storms, which contained heavy rains and dangerous lightning.

The storms came two days after another series of storms pummeled northern Jersey, spawning a tornado in Sussex County and causing extensive urban street flooding. The counties along the Jersey Shore took the brunt of Friday's weather. Falling trees hit homes, cars and power lines in Toms River, New Jersey

"Power lines down all over the place. It was unbelievable. The destruction happened in like 20 minutes," said one resident.

Neighbors were armed with flashlights late into the night trying to get around their homes.

"I heard gusts and gusts. That's what scared me the most. The heavy gusts and the trees were swaying. I screamed for my son and I told him to get in the bathroom," another resident told us.

Gusts were recorded as high as 59 m.p.h. in Toms River. On just about every block you can see homes and cars crushed by debris, trees on the street and power lines ripped in two.

One tree came down right on top of Nick Poland's bedroom.

"All of the sudden we heard boom. The tree hit the house. So we didn't know what happened yet. I go looking around out the windows and it looks like we're inside a tree," Poland said.

With trees on the road, it's dangerous to get around. Our cameras spotted sparks from snapped power lines inside one tree.

Jersey Central Power & Light reported about 2,000 customers out, mostly around the Toms River area, on Saturday afternoon.

Most customers were expected to have service restored by Saturday night.

In Newark, the rain poured down so quickly it trapped two workers who were lining a sewer pipe underground.

It happened at 12th Avenue and 6th Street around 4:00 in the afternoon.

Supervisors had ordered all of the workers to evacuate the sewer when the storm moved in, but two men became trapped.

The force of the water washed the workers down a block inside the sewer.

Fortunately, they were caught by an underground emergency netting.

Crew members then lifted the men to safety.


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