A powerful line of thunderstorms brought damaging gusty winds on Friday morning, previewing the possible havoc that could befall the state by the evening.

Almost all of New Jersey is under either a wind advisory or high wind warning until 7 p.m. Friday.

Forecasters say winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts of up to 55 mph, in many parts of the Jersey Shore and South Jersey could bring down power lines and tree limbs.

By noon, there were already 22,000 JCP&L, PSE&G and Atlantic City Electric customers without power.

The National Weather Service said that people in counties under the High Wind Warning should stay away from windows, remain in the lower levels of their homes and avoid standing under trees.

Travel could also be difficult for trucks or high-profile vehicles because of winds. But other vehicles weren't being spared as power outages were causing traffic lights to fail.

Trees also fell onto Route 28 in Middlesex Borough and Route 78 East near Route 287.

Counties in the High Wind Warning were Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Monmouth and Ocean.

Counties under a Wind Advisory — with winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts of up to 50 mph — were Bergen, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.

Gloucester and Salem counties were under a Tornado Warning just before 10 a.m.

"Radar briefly picked up on some twisting motion over northern Delaware. And, out an abundance of caution, the National Weather Service popped out a short-fuse warning," New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. "As far as I know, there were no confirmed reports of a tornado or funnel cloud."

Winds also picked up dramatically with a 73 mph wind gust in Cape May, 66 mph gusts in Sandy Hook, 65 mph gusts in Mystic Island, 64 mph gusts at Mercer County Airport and 59 mph gusts at Barnegat Light, according to the National  Weather Service.

Zarrow expects the strongest winds to blow until around 2 p.m.

Chris Coleman contributed to this report.

Flags fly in Freehold Borough
Flags fly in Freehold Borough (Chris Swendeman)

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

Enter your number to get the NJ 101.5 app

More from New Jersey 101.5