Tens of thousands of New Jerseyans are in the dark this evening after a band of strong thunderstorms toppled trees and brought down power lines throughout parts of the state Monday.

NJ 101.5 Meteorologist Dan Zarrow says the recent high temperatures - which topped out at 97 degrees in some spots Monday afternoon - were partly to blame for the intense weather.

"These fierce thunderstorms were fueled by today's intense heat and humidity, along with an approaching cold front," Zarrow said. "Several bands of strong to severe thunderstorms moved across New Jersey this afternoon and this evening."

According to Zarrow, some parts of the Garden State saw more than 1.5 inches of rain, which led to localized flooding. In addition, wind gusts up to 60 mph in some spots pulled down power lines and knocked down trees.

"And the lightning was just spectacular, with loud, frightening thunder too," Zarrow said.

Reports of lightening were widespread, with many people capturing images on social media.

Utilities companies are continuing to work toward restoring power. As of 8:30 p.m., JCP&L was reporting more than 36,600 without power; PSE&G reported 26,000 customers affected and Atlantic City Electric report just a handful, with fewer than 70 customers experiencing outages.

Zarrow said the stormy weather will subside as the evening continues but showers and some thunder is possible through Tuesday morning.

"The storms will pulse down this evening, especially after about 8 p.m. However, scattered showers and lighter thunderstorms may persist for a while Monday night, possibly through early Tuesday morning," Zarrow said.

Despite the rain, Zarrow doesn't expect a cool-down just yet.

"The next several days will be hot, but slightly less humid," he said. "The lower moisture level in the atmosphere and lack of a trigger means we should remain storm-free for Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs will still reach the lower to mid 90s across the Garden State."

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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