A fearsome rainstorm is pummeling the region with heavy rains and dangerous winds that have prompted severe thunderstorm warnings and even tornado watches in large swaths of New Jersey as it wreaks havoc across the tri-state, Storm Team 4 says.
Quick-moving, powerful winds brought down trees and power lines, and the gusts were blamed for taking down a vacant building in the Bronx, flipping a tractor-trailer on the George Washington Bridge and sparking at least one transformer fire.
Gusts could approach 60 mph as rain pounds the region overnight, with areas along the coasts of Long Island and New Jersey seeing the strongest winds, according to Storm Team 4.
Tornado watches are in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday for Monmouth, Hunterson, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Warren and Ocean counties in New Jersey. Flash flood warnings were briefly issued for parts of New Jersey, but have since been canceled.
Severe thunderstorm warnings remain in effect for New York City, Long Island and the immediate suburbs through about 2 a.m. Thursday. As much as 2 inches of rain could fall in some areas.
Winds were so powerful Wednesday night they knocked over a tractor-trailer on the upper level of the GWB Wednesday night, according to a Port Authority official. No one was hurt and the trailer appeared to be empty, but police activity was mucking up traffic on the bridge.
A three-story vacant building collapse in the Belmont section of the Bronx was also believed to be related to high winds. No injuries were immediately reported, but East 183rd Street was closed near Belmont Avenue as police responded, according to buildings officials.
And in Westchester, a tree fell onto a Metro-North train near the Ardsley station. The Hudson-line train received minor damage, and passengers were put on another train to resume their trips, according to rail officials. Delays of up to 20 minutes were being reported on several Metro-North lines due to the weather.
Also in Westchester, a transformer fire at Knollwood and Payne roads in Greenburgh knocked out power to about 70 customers, according to authorities.
In New Jersey, a tree crashed through the roof of a day care center in Vineland and brought down a power line in North Brunswick.
Hundreds of delays and cancellations were reported at the region's three airports Wednesday afternoon.
Some rain showers will continue to push through overnight, and winds will continue to gust over 30 mph into the morning. Some morning showers Thursday will give way to peeks of sun in the afternoon, and Friday will be much more pleasant as sunshine returns, though it will still be blustery with a high of 40.
Then it should be a pleasant weekend, with temperatures rising to the mid 50s on Sunday after a brisk but sunny Saturday.