Storms, Possible Tornado Blast Central N.Y. State

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Utility crews worked to restore power to as many as 130,000 customers Tuesday after a line of thunderstorms and a possible tornado swept through New York state, downing trees and power lines and causing several injuries, authorities said.

Storms with winds of up to 60 mph moved from western New York toward Vermont and western Massachusetts Monday, the National Weather Service (search) said.

Several tornado sightings were reported Monday night south and east of Albany and "radar showed a very strong rotation" along the storm's track from Ulster County to Vermont, said meteorologist Dick Westergard. The weather service will try to determine Tuesday if there was a tornado, he said.

The storms flattened four houses and one mobile home, Greene County Sheriff Richard Hussey said. Several people were briefly trapped in the downed structures, including four in one house.

At least seven people were injured and five were taken to the hospital, Hussey said. The injuries did not appear to be serious, he said.

Several roads in the county's hardest hit area near Catskill, 30 miles south of Albany, were closed and crews worked to clear debris.

Alan Leombruno, owner of the Brookside Camping Ground in Catskill, said the storm swept away a two-car garage where his 1923 custom-built Ford was parked.

"I looked out my window and everything was gone," he told the Times Union of Albany. "It sounded like dynamite went off."

Across the Hudson River in Columbia County, state police reported at least one injury and several downed trees, utility poles and wires, prompting authorities to close roads. The county declared a state of emergency late Monday.

"We have reports of damage all over the place," said Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Reagan Anderson. "We have damage in the north, the south, the east and the west."

In Rennselaer County, the village of Nassau was without power and Route 20 was closed, according the sheriff's office.

Up to nearly 2 inches of rain fell in parts of Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga counties, causing roads to flood.

"It rained so hard you couldn't see the front of your vehicle," Clifton Park Highway Superintendent Louis Gerard in Saratoga County told the Times Union.

New York State Electric & Gas (search) spokesman Clay Ellis said as many as 80,000 were without power at the storm's peak. About 35,000 customers had power restored Tuesday morning, he said.

About 24,000 near Elmira, 75 miles southwest of Syracuse, were without power Tuesday, and it could be days before some regain power, he said. The rest of the outages were scattered throughout the state, he said.

Central Hudson Gas & Electric said as many as 40,000 of its customers from southern Albany County to Orange and Putnam counties remained without power Tuesday morning. Some customers had their power restored, but more outages were caused by storms that lasted into the night, spokeswoman Denise VanBuren said.

Most customers will have power restored by Tuesday afternoon, but some would have to wait until Wednesday, she said.

Niagara Mohawk (search) reported about 10,000 customers remained without power Tuesday morning, with the heaviest damage in Columbia County and southern Rensselaer County in eastern New York. Lightning strikes damaged some power equipment, he said. About 20,000 customers were without power at the storm's peak. Complete restoration was expected by Wednesday, spokesman Alberto Bianchetti said.

There were also some outages in the Olean area, 60 miles southeast of Buffalo.

In western and northern Pennsylvania, Monday's storms packed strong winds of up to 80 mph that knocked down trees and damaged homes, emergency officials said.

Power was cut to more than 100,000 households from Mercer and Lawrence counties in western Pennsylvania to as far as east Northumberland County, officials said.

Heavy winds were also blamed for the collapse of the 121-year-old Kinzua Viaduct (search), the country's fourth tallest railroad bridge near the Allegheny National Forest, 110 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Heavy rains and thunderstorms were expected to continue in upstate New York through Wednesday, according to the weather service.