A storm sent this tree crashing into Connecticut home.

Al Jones/1010 WINS

New York Area Hit With Deadly Storms, 3 Tornadoes, Power Out For Thousands

May 16, 2018 - 1:33 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Tuesday's storms didn't last long, but they hit hard and they were deadly in some spots -- with three tornadoes, and hurricane force winds up in the Hudson Valley knocking over trees and killing an 11-year-old girl in Newburgh.

"The tree came down, and it was crushed. The fireman was there with the jaws of life cutting the car out, trying to get the tree off the car so they could get the body out and stuff like that," one witness said.

The National Weather Service confirmed that tornadoes touched down in Putnam County – a strong EF2 tornado near Kent, and an EF1 tornado near Patterson.

A third tornado – an EF0 with 85 mph winds – also touched down in Newburgh in Orange County, the National Weather Service said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, and Sullivan counties. The National Guard is helping with cleanup.

There was a second death in Newburgh, and at least two more people were killed by falling trees in Connecticut. There were also plenty of downed trees in New Jersey.

An 80-year-old woman's death in Ramapo was also blamed on the storm.

Within minutes, daylight disappeared and lightning strikes sliced through the darkness. The roaring wind tore down a power pole in Maywood. The pole crashed through the roof of a house setting it on fire.

Up the road in Ho-Ho-Kus, fire chief Keith Rozassa told 1010 WINS transformers blew up and residents had to evacuate their homes.

"We had a large tree come down in a driveway on Bernard Place, and a person was trapped in that vehicle, and there were also live wires involved in that," he said.

Blinding rain flooded streets, and up in the northwestern part of the state there was wind so fierce it blew off the roof of a building in Newton.

Gina Weber’s backyard was a tornado.

“It came out of nowhere. It sounded like a train,” she said. “I know people always say that it’s a loud whistle and a train.”

Weber ran for the basement. Minutes later, her house, pool, and shed were struck by falling trees.

Across town, a woman named Caroline lost trees, but her property sustained no major structural damage. She told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones she was grateful.

“If you survived it, and you didn’t have a lot of bad damage – because it could be bad,” she said.

Power outages covered nearly the entire town, roads were blocked by fallen trees and downed lines, and there was a lot of cleanup ahead Wednesday.

The weather also made a mess of Metro-North service on Tuesday, and there were still plenty of issues on Wednesday morning.

If you're coming in from one of the more northern stations of the Harlem or Hudson lines, you can expect trains to be more crowded, but it will be better than the commute home on Tuesday night, when lines were suspended, and hundreds filled Grand Central.

"We've had incidents, but this has gotta be the worst I've seen," one rider said.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said high winds left them with no choice, but to suspend service.

"We were getting reports earlier in the day of wind upwards of 70 mph, that is just short of hurricane wind," he said.

It took hours to get some service going on all three lines.

Thousands were without power when they woke up Wednesday morning.

Con Ed had under 3,000 outages, mostly in Westchester. PSE&G in New Jersey has about 5,600 -- the majority of those are in Bergen and Essex County. JCP&L has about 38,000 primarily in Morris and Sussex County.