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Nor'easter Downs Trees, Leaves Residents In Dark Around Tri-State Area

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Powerful winds ripped down trees and power lines, caused damage to buildings and cars, and cut power to some Tri-State Area residents and businesses Monday.

A high wind warning remained in effect through 6 a.m. Tuesday for east or northeast winds of 25 to 40 miles per hour with gusts of up to 60 mph.

Gusts of up to 45 mph were expected to continue until early Tuesday morning.

Overnight, there was to be one more high tide and one more inch of rain was also expected. The highest winds were expected to be on Long Island, CBS2's Lonnie Quinn reported.

By noon Tuesday, winds were expected to drop to 25 mph or less.

On Monday afternoon, peak gusts reached 60 mph in Tuckerton, New Jersey. Peak gusts hit 56 mph in Hudson County, 55 mph in Montauk, 51 mph in Stamford, Connecticut, 50 mph in Queens, and 45 mph in Central Park.

The storm was blamed for power outages for tens of thousands of customers around the area.

A total of 4,690 PSE&G customers and 14,607 Jersey Central Power & Light customers were without power In New Jersey as of 4:30 p.m. Another 6,611 PSEG Long Island customers were without power, along with 755 Con Edison customers, and 61 Orange and Rockland customers were also without power.

By 10 p.m. Monday, the PSE&G customers without power had been reduced to 993, and the number of JCP&L customers was down to 3,480.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging New Yorkers to "take this one seriously."

"Take precautions, look out for your neighbors – just take it seriously," de Blasio told WCBS 880. "I would say if folks are thinking of working late and have to drive home, it's probably not the best night to do that. Try and get out earlier if you can. Drive carefully. Don't rush because it's going to be tough conditions tonight."

De Blasio said one of the greatest concerns is coastal flooding in low-lying areas, especially on Staten Island.

"The way we see the storm developing we think Staten Island is going to get some of the worst flooding," de Blasio said. "We are paying special attention there on the immediate things we can do like clearing the catch basins to try and minimize the flooding."

The buildings department has told contractors to secure construction sites and lower cranes and Emergency Management Deputy Commissioner Jacob Cooper says they're ready for any trees that may fall.

"We've put our downed tree task force on alert, which is a multi-agency task force to deal with any type of downed trees that may occur due to the high winds," he told WCBS 880's Rich Lamb.

Cooper also urged New Yorkers to take any plants or loose furniture in from yards and balconies.

In New Jersey, the strong winds uprooted a large tree in Caldwell, bringing down power lines and narrowly missing a parked sport-utility vehicle.

Video posted to Instagram shows scaffolding loosely dangling on the side of a building in Jersey City, swinging uncontrollably due to the strong gusts.

The storm led to accidents and even injuries throughout New York City.

On West 34th Street, two people – a 68-year-old woman and a 71-year-old man – were hit by falling debris Monday afternoon. One suffered a shoulder injury, the other a hip injury, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported. A piece of façade came off a business.

PHOTOS: Nor'easter Leaves Tri-State Area Soaked

Additionally, some scaffolding across the street on 34th Street was damaged by the wind.

In Harlem, broken pieces of wood scaffolding material fell on 114th Street.

On Staten Island, a tree pierced a car windshield in the parking lot at Richmond University Medical Center. No one was in the car at the time.

Also on Staten Island, flags on Highland Boulevard were snapping late Monday afternoon, and trees were rocking from side to side. But it was on the beach where the force of the wind was most dramatic.

One area of the Oakwood section of Staten Island has been mostly abandoned since Sandy. But one woman remains. She said still being in the area is "depressing, depressing, depressing," WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported.

The woman did not want to give her name because she is fighting the state for a buyout. But she is desperate to move.

In New Jersey, as CBS2's Jessica Layton reported, the whipping winds whipped up sand and water from the ocean, while battering fences in Bay Head. In nearby Point Pleasant -- cold rain pelted people in the face as they ran through parking lots.

"As a former firefighter in the area, trust me, these roads are definitely not where you want to be," said Andrew Hallett of New Egypt, New Jersey.

"A little rain you can deal with, but the wind is crazy -- it's just hollering at my house," said Josh Huber of Point Pleasant.

"It's just nasty!" another resident said.

Some admitted they went out against their better judgment, after a day of being cooped up in the house in the midst of high wind warnings and coastal flooding concerns.

In Long Branch, authorities were out in force closing off roads already covered in water.

Earlier in the day there, winds carried sand from the ocean as they whipped against the Ocean View Towers on the water. A large piece of the roof at 510 Ocean Ave. in Long Branch was left hanging from the apartment building, in a symbol of just how intense the wind had been all day.

"We actually called 911, because we heard from the office – I was getting ready for work," said Kerrin Sturchio of Long Branch. "And then we looked outside. We were like, 'Oh my God, what is this?' We didn't know what it was."

Another strip of the roof flew down into the parking lot, demolishing two cars.

"I ran out to move my car, but my back windshield was already smashed in, so I just left it, per my insurance company," said Rose Carcich of Long Branch.

During CBS2's noon live shot, it was hard for Baker to face the camera as winds blew from the east, making it nearly impossible to stand in one place.

In Neptune City, a carport was wiped out by wind gusts in excess of 50 mph. A neighbor heard rattling and looked out as it lifted up from the driveway.

"I just looked out as it was coming down," said Pat Robertson of Neptune City. "So I didn't really realize it was coming down until it did."

Farther south, the Manasquan Inlet was rocking and rolling, throwing waves over the bulkhead in Manasquan.

"There's a lot of water in the back bays that's being held, in by the wind, so the tide's kind of building on top of each other, so we're expecting some back bay flooding," Manasquan Mayor Ed Donovan said Monday afternoon.

Donovan said he expects high tide Tuesday morning to be even worse than Monday night. He urged homeowners to move their cars to higher ground.

"We're probably going to head back to house now, but there'll be flooding up the next couple blocks, so everyone should probably get away from here," said Paul Freda of Manasquan.

Meanwhile in West New York, officials decided to close schools Monday and urged residents to avoid any unnecessary travel and be aware of flying debris.

"I think residents should make sure to stay home if they don't need to go out," Jonathan Castaneda, chief of staff to the mayor, told 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck.

And in West Orange, a tree from one yard on Pleasant Avenue came crashing down onto a neighbor's deck and roof. The homeowner had been inside watching TV when the tree fell.

"It sounded like a bomb hit the house," said homeowner June Archer. "The house shook, and I freaked out. I had no idea what happened. We looked outside and we saw this gigantic tree just all over the deck."

Amazingly, the tree did not crash through the house. But it will be impossible to tell the extent of the damage until Tuesday morning.

In Westchester County, wind chimes pierced the sounds of the impending storm. It was serious enough that plumber Ken Jones wrapped up work early. He told CBS2's Andrea Grymes he wanted to make sure he made it home to Carmel in Putnam County.

"They said north of 84 is going to be snow and ice, so I want to get home and safe before it gets bad," Jones said.

No snow is expected in Westchester, but rain and strong winds were already clobbering the area by late Monday afternoon. Flags and banners swayed in the air, and small waves crashed on the Long Island Sound.

Many school districts, including New Rochelle, canceled after-school activities as a precaution. But most parents were not too concerned.

"I overlook the sound and it's cool to watch that," said Melanie McKay of New Rochelle. "I just checked my plants on the terrace, but they've been pretty stable -- haven't moved or anything -- so that's a good thing."

The wind also knocked out power to thousands of customers across New Jersey and Long Island and is also causing transit problems on the rails, on the water and in the skies.

The Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington Branch was suspended for much of the evening in both directions between the Port Washington and Great Neck stations due to a fallen utility pole caused by the high winds near Plandome.

Service on NJ TRANSIT's Morris & Essex lines were hit with delays Monday afternoon after a tree fell on overhead wires between the Summit and Dover stations.

North Jersey Coast Line rail service was suspended in both directions between New York Penn Station and Long Branch due to an overhead wire problem near Linden as the afternoon rush began, and service on the Northeast Corridor line between Trenton and Penn Station was also suspended.

Service later resumed, but with major delays.

NJ TRANSIT said significant delays would continue through Monday night. Crews late Monday working to repair the Amtrak signal system in the Linden area, but delays may continue if work is not done by the morning peak period, NJ TRANSIT said.

In southern New Jersey, service between Philadelphia's 30th Street Station and Cherry Hill was suspended when the Delair Bridge became stuck in the open position Monday afternoon.

Officials canceled all Cape May-Lewes ferry trips on Monday because of the high winds and rough seas. The boats ply the waters between Cape May in New Jersey and Lewes, Delaware.

Flight delays were also seen at all area airports. As of 4:30 p.m., arriving flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport were delayed by an average of 1 hour and 10 minutes, while arrivals at LaGuardia were delayed 1 hour and 55 minutes, and arrivals at Newark Liberty International Airport were delayed 2 hours and 38 minutes.

Travelers are being urged to check with their carriers before heading to the airport.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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