NEW YORK – High winds knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers in the Northeast on Wednesday and wreaked havoc for commuters, blowing trees across railroad tracks, overturning tractor-trailers, and making for wild ferry rides.
More than 380,000 homes and businesses across the region lost power, and several airports reported delays of two hours or more.
The wind was blamed for at least one death, a 52-year-old man killed just north of New York City when a tree fell on his car, according to a Sound Shore Hospital spokesman in New Rochelle.
Power failures were reported in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, the Philadelphia area, New York, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
In Maryland, a storm-caused power-outage forced NASA to scrub its launch Wednesday of an unmanned spacecraft on a voyage to Pluto. The power went out at the Maryland lab that is managing operations for the mission.
Gusts exceeded 60 mph around the Boston area early Wednesday afternoon, including an 85 mph gust at an observatory in Milton, south of Boston.
Louise Donase was stuck in traffic on New York's Tappan Zee Bridge, watching as gusts of wind tore the mudflaps from the trucks around her. Then the green tractor-trailer on her right was blown over, right onto her brand new Honda.
"The noise was deafening," she said in an interview at her desk in White Plains, where she works for the Westchester County technology department.
"It came over right onto my car and the SUV in front of me. ... I was afraid the truck would ignite."
Another tractor-trailer flipped on the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York. A fallen tree blocked commuter train traffic between Connecticut to New York's Grand Central Terminal.
And out in the bay, a New York Waterway ferry running from New Jersey to Manhattan met some high seas that reached the passenger deck and prompted a rush for the life preservers.
At Boston's Logan International Airport, incoming flights were delayed more than 2 1/2 hours by the weather at midafternoon, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Earlier in the day, departures were delayed an average of one hour and 39 minutes at Newark International Airport and 56 minutes at New York's La Guardia Airport, where winds were gusting at 59 mph, the Port Authority said.