TRENTON — North and Central Jersey was awakened by a severe thunderstorm that crossed the state early Saturday morning

The powerful storm rolled into New Jersey just before 4 a.m., moving west to east with loud thunder, intense lightning, 55 mph winds and quarter-size hail in an area between Route 80 and Route 195.

"When I left my house at 5 a.m. I thought I was back at a 70s disco with all the lights in the sky," said 94.3 The Point's Tommy Lynch of his drive on the Garden State Parkway in Monmouth County.

Nearly 2,500 JCP&L customers and another 2,200 PSE&G customers, mostly in Middlesex and Camden counties, were still without power by 8:30 a.m., according to their respective power outage maps. Hundreds more had lost power at the height of the storm.

The storm caused all lanes of the northbound New Jersey Turnpike in Carteret to temporarily close, according to New Jersey Fast Traffic. There were also several cars reported off the road in East Brunswick and Woodbridge and flooding reported through North Plainfield and Bridgewater on Route 22.

Saturday will still be a warm day with partly to mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 80s for all of New Jersey, even along the shore, according to New Jersey 101.5 meteorologist Dan Zarrow.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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