New York area cleans up from severe storms

July 19, 2012 2:28:39 PM PDT
Parts of the New York area spent Thursday cleaning up the mess left behind by a super summer storm the night before.

The wild weather swooped in, toppling trees and power lines, flooding roads and yards and littering the Tri-State Area with debris.

Thousands of customers woke up without power Thursday morning.


The storm that broke the heat wave broke plenty more. In Woodside, Queens, the rain pounded down so hard that it flooded streets with three to four feet of water. Storm drains were overwhelmed, and cars that tried to make it through had to be abandoned.

Strong winds blew plywood off a window in Queens Plaza, and all the rain flooded basements.

"I got about 5 inches of water," said Eduardo Castro, a building superintendent. "The whole basement is flooded."

A tree came crashing down on top of a car in the westbound lanes of the Laurelton Parkway. People inside the vehicle had to be cut out using the jaws of life.

Manhattan also saw plenty of lightning, and in one case, a child was hurt. He was not hit by the lightning bolt, but by concrete that crumbled off a building.

Eyewitnesses say they saw a huge flash of light and heard a boom as the storm rolled through Chelsea. Suddenly chunks of concrete from a building at 27th Street and 7th Avenue came crashing to the ground.

The 10-year-old boy was hit while he was crossing the street. His family rushed him into a nearby pizza shop, where workers called 911.

The boy was taken to the hospital with cuts and bruises, and he is expected to be okay.

At Penn Station, the water came in so quickly that it didn't have anywhere to go. Riders had to slog down waterfall-like staircases and across slippery platforms, but train service on the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 lines were not affected.


On Long Island, the mayor of Glen Cove says his town got clobbered.

The immediate problem after the storm was clearing massive trees that brought down power lines. Traffic and street lights were knocked out, and that remained a problem throughout the night.

Along Long Island Sound, the storm flattened a large gazebo being used as shelter by four people. Amazingly, all of them escaped serious injury.

LIPA crews were hard at work to get all the power restored.


Workers with Orange and Rockland utilities had a busy night, replacing utility poles and restringing power lines in Rockland County.

At a house in Monsey, the downed cables stretched right across children's toys. And along with the rain and wind, there was hail. At one point, more than 4,400 homes were without power. The hardest hit area was around Suffern.

A lightning strike sparked also sparked a house fire in Orange County. The bolt hit a tree next to the house in Blooming Grove, the current then jumped to the house and started a fire in the attic. Firefighters quickly put out the flames.


The storms containing heavy rains, strong winds and hail moved through during the late afternoon, knocking down trees and power lines. Jersey Central Power and Light reported roughly 10,500 customers had no power Wednesday night, while about 9,600 PSE&G customers were without service. However, roughly half of PSE&G's outages were caused by a traffic accident.

The strong storms also snapped the state's most recent heat wave, which was welcome relief for weather-weary residents.

The National Weather Service said record temperatures were set Wednesday in Newark, which hit 104 degrees, and in Atlantic City, which reached 101 degrees. Trenton tied its record of 100 degrees.


Connecticut Light & Power restored power to thousands of customers who lost electricity when severe storms with hail and lightning swept through the state.

Bradley International Airport briefly closed two main runways to clear pavement debris from a lightning strike Wednesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service said hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter was reported in Windham County, and trees and wires were downed in several areas of the state.

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