MANCHESTER — Utility crews working to repair downed wires in Ocean County after Monday morning's thunderstorms got a shock when a wire they though was de-energized was actually live.

In a video posted by Manchester Police, lightning knocks down a wire and transformer at Route 70 and Colonial Drive. The video shows a JCP&L worker several hours later, in full protective gear, trying to bring down the wire, which was caught on a traffic signal pole.

When the wire hit the wet pavement, it immediately caught fire, sending the worker running.

"Luckily, he was wearing proper safety equipment! At the end of the night, no one was injured and everyone made it home," Manchester Police wrote in a Facebook post.

The video serves as a reminder to never touch a wire on the ground.

"Never assume a phone or coaxial cable line isn't energized. An energized power line nearby could be touching the line, energizing it," JCP&L wrote on its website.

The line of thunderstorms that moved through New Jersey before dawn was accompanied by intense lightning, according to Townsquare New Jersey Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow, who said the severe convective storms represented Mother Nature at her most ferocious.

"Monday morning's weather was impressive and downright scary — you have to respect that power and fury," Zarrow said.

The storms also knocked out power to thousands across the state, and gusty winds brought down trees and power lines.

The Rutgers NJ Weather Network reported a wind gust of 81 mph at Lower Alloways Creek Twp in Salem County at 3:25 a.m., according to Zarrow.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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