Storms cause damage across New York area

July 1, 2012 4:01:30 PM PDT
Severe storms caused street flooding, property damage and knocked out power to many in the New York area early Monday.

The older trees and branches snapped during the storm and landed on top of power lines in Dutchess County. Utility crews shut down roads as they went about the tedious task of repairing the lines.

Navigating through a mess of wet leaves, cable wires analog across the roadway and fallen branches and trees, workers stick to their tool of choice to clear the debris

"We had a thunderstorm roll through. It was a lot of high winds and lightning. We've had some transmission problems running north to south along the Route 22 corridor," Dave Ruud of NYS Electric & Gas said.

"It was the closest you could get to having a tornado without having a tornado," resident Donna Banks said when we asked her what fire officials told her.

Banks went grocery shopping, but can't cook anything she bought because her power's out. Her home, which was built in the 1840's, was largely sparred, but her neighbor's Honda Accord was not. A tree branch smashed the back window.

Banks neighbor, Karen Finnerty, was luckier. She has a generator and her property was largely untouched, but the powerful high winds created quite a stir.

"We just woke around 7 o'clock to see these big winds, and I was looking around and I had this graduation tent outside and I saw it almost as high as my bedroom window upstairs," she said.

In Connecticut, a golf course manager says several workers are being treated after lightning struck near a building they were in. Lake of Isles general manager Archie Cart says the course workers in North Stonington had sought shelter in an enclosed, grounded building during strong storms blamed for some fires and other damage across the state Monday morning. He says the workers are expected to be OK.

Cart says he's trying to determine exactly how many people are being treated. He says two workers were knocked over by a nearby lightning strike on the way to a shelter.

The storms are also blamed for more than 12,000 power outages in the state and delays of up to 30 minutes on the Metro-North railroad.

In New Jersey, a bolt of lightning struck the roof of an apartment building in the Covered Bridge development, and within minutes, thick smoke and flames were pouring out of the roof. More than 80 firefighters responded to Amberly Drive in Manalapan, but the blaze moved so quickly that four apartments were destroyed.

Some elderly residents had to leave their apartments so quickly, they were still wearing bathrobes.

"It's 55 and over, a lot of people here are bedridden, wheelchairs, so it had the potential to be a bad situation," Manalapan Fire Chief Lee Maksimik said.

Neighboring residents called in the fire quickly and warned their neighbors, so no one who lived here was hurt. Three firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.

The entrance to the apartment building has been boarded up and four apartments on one side are totally destroyed. Because of the quick response time of the firefighters and a thick firewall, the fire was contained to one side and the back four apartments just have water damage.

Storms also knocked out power across Long Island. At one location in Nassau County, officials believe a lightning strike hit a pole, taking down power lines in the process. Street flooding also made travel hazardous in Rockville Centre.

On Staten Island, a priest's prayer was interrupted by a bolt of lightning, hitting Saint Anthony of Padua church.

"It startled me. I jumped up. I literally jumped up," Father John Wroblewski said.

"I look up and said, 'oh my gosh the church is on fire.' and it was coming from the steeple by the cross," Deacon Joe Rentkowski said,

Firefighters got everyone out of the church safely and flames were brought under control before causing too much damage.


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