Thousands without power after ‘incredibly intense storms’ in NJ
Utility crews worked through the night to restore power to thousands still without power from Wednesday’s intense thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service determined the line of storms that moved through during the late morning and early afternoon are considered a “derecho,” a fast-moving, long-track severe wind event that tracked across Pennsylvania into New Jersey at 90 mph with gusty winds and heavy rain.
"Those were some incredibly intense storms. The state's top reported wind gust is now 93 mph at Beach Haven, LBI," New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. There was also a gust of 92 mph recorded in Surf City and 87 mph in Brick, according to the National Weather Service.
A second storm moved through parts of Camden, Gloucester, Burlington and Ocean counties on Wednesday night, triggering a tornado warning after a cloud rotation was spotted over a section of Philadelphia.
As of 11 a.m. there were still over 10,000 JCP&L customers without power, with more than 9,000 in Ocean County, down from nearly 85,000 on Wednesday, according to spokesman Cliff Cole.
"Trees that came down they took down wires and utility poles. The combination of those are making a challenge for our folks to get into the area safely, to assess the damage and make sure they can safely make those repairs. That's a time consuming challenge process but we made progress since yesterday when we had a large number of folks out," Cole told New Jersey 101.5.
He said most customers should be restored by late Thursday night.
PSE&G spokesman Tony Garrihy said nearly 5% of the company's 2.4M customers were affected by outages mostly in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties. Comfort stations as summer like weather continues with high humidity and temperatures in the 80s.
The utility expects restoration by midnight on Friday. Extensive damage in pocketed areas and continued high winds are expected to delay restoration, according to the utility.
866 additional repair crew have been brought in from Massachusetts, New York, including PSEG Long Island, Pennsylvania and other areas of New Jersey. 77 tree trimming crews are working to clear debris.
PSE&G has opened up comfort stations that will be open from noon until 5 p.m. to provide water and ice at these locations:
- 34 Municipal Drive Lumberton NJ 08048 (Burlington County)
- Kennedy Center 429 John F Kennedy Way, Willingboro NJ 08046 (Burlington County)
- 449 West Nicholson Road Audubon 08106 (Gloucester and Camden County)
Atlantic City Electric said it brought in crews from its sister utilities to help with restoration and still had 5,000 customers without power as of 8 a.m. Thursday morning.
Comcast said it is aware many customers are having issues.
The storm damaged the roof of the St. Francis Community Center in the Brant Beach section of LBI forcing the food pantry to temporarily close although there was no damage in the area where food is stored.
"We sustained damage from the winds ripping off part of our roof. We will know more about the damage and repairs in next day or two," the center's Wendy Baumgardner wrote on her Facebook page.
The Sandpiper was first to report the damage to the roof.
The gusty winds also tore up the bleachers at the Allentown High School football field.
"Most importantly, no one was hurt. We are still assessing the damage, but the wind speeds must have been extreme. These bleachers are heavy," superintendent Mark Guterl told New Jersey 101.5 in an email.
The approaching storm kicked up the sand on an Atlantic City beach causing beachgoers to quickly pack up and leave. Video shared by the Atlantic City police department (caution: includes profane language) showed an officer help carry a child off the beach. Officer Annese Parks was also hit in the back by a falling light pole, according to the department.
NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Line and the RiverLine will be operating normally on Thursday after downed trees and flooding blocked the respective tracks.
Brace Road in Cherry Hill and Route 206 in Southampton remained closed on Thursday as cleanup of fallen trees and utility poles continued.
More from New Jersey 101.5: