Authorities have issued tornado watches for the New York City metropolitan area as intense winds and rain and possible severe thunderstorms bear down on the region.
A tornado watch was issued earlier in the day for the city, Sullivan, Rockland and Orange counties and all of New Jersey. It is in effect until 7 p.m. The watch was expanded Tuesday afternoon to include Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Ulster, Dutchess and Putnam counties in New York and Fairfield County in Connecticut. Those later tornado watches expire at 11 p.m.
Half-inch-sized hail, dangerous lightning and wind gusts of up to 70 mph are possible with this storm, meteorologists say.
The surging storm system is expected to gain strength throughout the day, turning into scattered, potentially severe thunderstorms by the time of the evening commute. Damaging wind gusts of up to 60 mph and isolated tornadoes are possible with these storms, which may knock down trees and cause power outages.
The storm slowed the evening commute for many. Metro-North reported delays between Greenwich and Stamford, Conn. as five trains were stuck on the tracks because trees were down. Earlier, the Harlem and New Haven lines were slowed because of a downed tree.
On Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority reported 4,000 without power Tuesday afternoon, with outages reported in Stewart Manor and Floral Park in Nassau County.
In New Jersey, wind gusts ripped a facade from a tattoo shop on the Wildwood boardwalk and the top of an old oak tree landed on the roof of a home in Ridgewood. No injuries were reported in either incident. A wind advisory is in effect from noon until midnight for most of the Garden State. Ijn Yonkers, a downed tree took out a power line, leaving about 30 homes without power.
Along with the powerful wind and isolated tornado potential, forecasters say blinding downpours are expected to accompany the thunderstorms, causing street and highway flooding in local drainage areas. The storm threat continues through the evening rush hour, so delays are possible.
Low clouds, wind and powerful thunderstorms are likely to cause delays at area airports, so customers are advised to check with their carriers before heading out. Newark Airport was reporting delays of nearly two hours by 11:15 a.m.
The forecast for Tuesday calls for a high of 76 degrees. The weather looks better Wednesday into the remainder of the week, with highs in the low-to-mid 70s through Friday and partly or mostly sunny skies.
Two twisters touched down in New York City earlier this month. The first went through the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens. The second hit to the northwest, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. No injuries were reported.
Source: NBC NY