NEW YORK – Tens of thousands of homes and businesses remained without power, schools and roads were closed in some places, and at least one community declared a state of emergency on Thursday after violent thunderstorms tore through the New York metropolitan area.
The swift-moving storm system brought rain and strong winds to an area stretching from northern New Jersey to southern Connecticut on Wednesday afternoon, with a gust as high as 70 mph measured in the Brooklyn Heights section of Brooklyn, said Tim Morrin of the National Weather Service. After examining the damage on Thursday, the Weather Service determined that no tornadoes passed through Westchester or northeastern New Jersey.
The storm system felled trees and tore down power lines in some areas, including some of the city's northern suburbs.
"It happened so quickly. It just came out of nowhere," said Robert Spano, who had a tree fall on his car outside his plumbing business in Bedford Hills.
Con Edison said 13,500 Westchester County homes and businesses were still without power Thursday afternoon, down from 30,000 at the peak of the outages. Power also was out to more than 2,100 Orange & Rockland Utilities customers by midday Thursday, down from a peak of 32,000, said spokesman Michael Donovan.
A state of emergency was declared in the Westchester County town of New Castle, where major state routes and many secondary roads were still impassable Thursday and public schools in Chappaqua canceled classes, said New Castle Police Sgt. Bruce Cathie.
Several other northern Westchester County school systems also were closed or opened late.
The storm knotted the Wednesday evening commute for riders of the Metro-North Railroad, as downed trees and power poles suspended and slowed service in some places. The tracks were cleared and repaired and service was back to normal early Thursday, the railroad said.
Many residents were facing a longer cleanup. In Croton, a pine tree that had towered over Wilma Messenger's three-story house had toppled across her yard and into a neighbor's, she said.
Her 13-year-old son, Ari, had watched it fall from a second-story bedroom.
"It kind of sounded like Niagara Falls when it was falling," he said.