Widespread destruction: Hundreds of thousands still in the dark in Isaias' wake

Isaias Impacts NYC & the Tri-State

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Uncleared trees remain hazard in Queens
Mike Marza has the latest on power outages in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias in Queens

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The torrential rains and strong winds from fast-moving Tropical Isaias dealt such a wallop that millions were left without power in the Tri-State area, and governors had to put into place emergency orders to speed up the recovery.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency for downstate New York to enable the state to provide additional levels to support to local governments throughout the clean-up and recovery process.

Nearly 2.5 million people lost power in the region. Con Edison said the number of power outages from Isaias was the second-largest in the company's history. Only Superstorm Sandy in 2012 caused more.

Con Ed is urging patience, saying the destruction from this storm is second only to Superstorm Sandy.

The emergency order covers the five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess counties.


Despite some progress being made -- 12,000 fewer power outages on Friday morning than there were Thursday morning -- some New York City residents are still living in storm zones ravaged by Tropical Storm Isaias.

In Queens alone, there are still more than 20,000 people without power. Citywide, there were at least 3,100 work orders for downed trees.

On Friday morning, a massive but brief power outage had a big impact on Upper Manhattan, affecting 187,068 customers in Harlem, the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side.

There was at least one death in New York City blamed on the storm, as a 60-year-old man was killed when he was crushed by a tree that fell on his car in Briarwood, Queens.

RELATED: Isaias' path of destruction

In Queens, a tree crashed through the roof of a home and fell on a child's bedroom. She was just a few feet away but wasn't hurt.

In Brooklyn, a woman was struck in the head by a falling tree branch outside the Tilden Houses in Brownsville. She was taken to Brookdale Hospital in critical condition.

There was also a partial building collapse involving the second and third floors of a building at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and North 6th Street.

An unknown number of residents were evacuated. There were no reports of injuries.

Heavy winds caused trees to topple in Brooklyn.

Cuomo blamed the power companies for failing to prepare adequately for the storm and its aftermath, and he is vowing an investigation.

ConEd said 260,000 customers were left without power after the storm throughout New York City and Westchester County. The company said half were restored by Thursday morning and the rest will be by Sunday night at the latest.

The company urged residents to stay away from downed wires and to not assume they are de-energized.


Some 108,000 remained without power on Long Island Friday after Tropical Storm Isaias caused widespread damage, downing trees and power lines and leaving almost half of PSEG's 1.1 million customers in the dark at the peak of the outages.

The hardest-hit area on the North Shore is Glen Cove, where half of residents still do not have power.

"We have not seen or heard a PSEG truck anywhere," Glen Cove resident Sandy Schlimer said. "My mom is 87. We're in a hot house. I'm all electric. I had to throw out everything in the fridge and the freezer this morning."

Schlimer's neighbor Amy Peters said that following Superstorm Sandy, homes on Harwood Drive East were without power for 14 days.

"We're praying that doesn't happen again," she said. "They keep saying tomorrow, tomorrow, and every day we check, and it's tomorrow again."

PSEG officials said 2,000 crews are working 16-hour shifts to restore power to customers on Long Island. Officials estimate 85% of customers will be back online by the end of the day Friday.

Kristin Thorne reports on the storm damage and cleanup efforts on Long Island.

The LIRR was back up and running with all service restored.


Dozens of National Guard troops have been sent to Putnam County to help in the cleanup and to provide assistance to residents. They are meeting at the Paladin Center in Carmel and will hand out supplies to those in need or deliver them to residents stuck in their homes.

Marcus Solis reports on Gov. Cuomo activating the National Guard in Putnam County to help residents there.

Isaias brought periods of torrential rain in Rockland County, but it was the wind that caused the most damage there too, uprooting small trees and snapping branches on big ones.

Naveen Dhaliwal reports on the storm damage in Westchester.


There are still more than 300,000 power customers in the dark in New Jersey on Friday. The vast majority are in North Jersey, which especially problematic during the pandemic when so many people are working from home.

Power is expected to be restored to 80% of New Jersey by Friday night. Some of the outages, however, could persist for days.

In addition to widespread power outages, downed trees continue to cause problems for NJ Transit.

The National Weather Service confirmed that two tornadoes touched down Tuesday - in Cape May County and in Ship Bottom on Long Beach island in Ocean County.

NJ Transit's Morris & Essex and Gladstone Branch remains suspended Friday as crews continue to repair extensive damage to signal systems and overhead wires, which power the trains. Once personnel clear the area and restore the wires, the infrastructure will have to undergo inspections before service can resume.

Isaias left behind a mess in New Jersey.


There is growing anger and frustration in Connecticut, where utility companies have hardly put a dent in the number of widespread outages from Tropical Storm Isaias.

There were more than 468,000 customers without electricity as of Friday morning, and while the state's main utility Eversource estimates it will make significant progress by the end of the weekend, it doesn't believe it will have its restoration substantially completed until midnight Wednesday.

Local officials have described the company's response to Isaias as an "epic failure," and the state is now investigating.

Governor Ned Lamont deployed the National Guard to help remove debris that is still blocking streets.

"We're going to be riding hard to make sure we get this done," he said. "I can tell you that Eversource maybe only had 450 line crews a few days ago. They'll have over 1,100 within the next 24 hours and I really want to see more progress."

Marcus Solis has more on the clean-up and recovery efforts from Isaias in Connecticut.

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