NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Powerful thunderstorms rushed through parts of the Tri-State area on Thursday afternoon, downing trees and power lines.
A tornado watch is in effect until 8 p.m. as severe thunderstorms race across the northern suburbs, Connecticut and Long Island.
"We have the tornado watch in general for the Hudson Valley, just about all of Connecticut as well as central and eastern Long Island, that includes all of Suffolk County," WCBS 880 Meteorologist Craig Allen reported. "There was rotation with a storm that moved through New Haven. Just video of dozens and dozens of trees and power lines down in the North Haven area. It looked like we had some winds that might've reached 90 miles an hour."
That cell moved southeast, prompting a severe thunderstorm warning for Suffolk County and southeast Connecticut.
Allen expects wild weather for the next few hours before it quiets down later in the night.
Strong storms barreled through western and southern Connecticut with strong wind gusts, knocking out power to more than 40,000 homes and businesses in the state. Trees were reported down in several places.
New York City's Emergency Management Department is warning residents about the potential for severe thunderstorms with wind gusts of up to 60 miles an hour, hail and up to a quarter inch of rain.
The National Weather Service says there is a potential for isolated tornadoes.
New Yorkers are advised to limit travel and stay inside during sever weather.
The Department of Buildings is also reminding all builders, contractors, crane operators, and property owners to secure their construction sites, buildings, and equipment.
The department said it will be performing random spot-check inspections of construction sites around the city, issuing violations and Stop Work Orders, where necessary.
PSEG Long Island, which is still reeling from criticism over its response to the widespread outages during Tropical Storm Isaias, said it is preparing for the next round of extreme weather.
PSE&G in New Jersey is also closely monitoring weather conditions and has extra personnel and resources at the ready to restore possible power outages.
Con Edison said has arranged for more than 500 mutual aid and contractor workers to help restore any outages from the storm.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday directed state agencies to begin preparing and pre-deploy emergency response assets ahead of severe weather which is expected to hit Thursday through Sunday.
There will be an increased chance of scattered severe thunderstorms statewide on Thursday, especially in the eastern portion of the state where localized downpours and wind gusts of up to 60 mph are possible.
A storm system is then expected to move over the Great Lakes and hit the western portion of New York, bringing the possibility of rain to much of the state on Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, the remnants of Hurricane Laura may lead to heavy rainfall in the lower Mid-Hudson and New York City region towards Long Island this weekend.
Cuomo says to prepare, the state will be “monitoring these storms around the clock.”
“We're urging New Yorkers to be prepared for severe weather starting Thursday and limit any unnecessary travel,” the governor said. “We are tracking Hurricane Laura, as well, as it approaches Texas and Louisiana and could potentially bring heavy rains to New York late in the weekend.”
Among the preparations being made are stockpiles pumps, chainsaws, sandbags and bottled water being sent to localities to support any storm-related needs.
State Police officers have also been told to remain vigilant and closely monitor conditions for any problems.
Additional personnel will be deployed to affected areas as needed and all four-wheel-drive vehicles and all specialty vehicles, including boats and utility vehicles, are in-service in the event of evacuations.
Response crews will also be available throughout the duration of priority response operations.
Cuomo also released safety precautions for travelers including having disaster supplies on hand, including flashlights extra batteries, and emergency food and water.