New York

Storms Bring Torrential Rain, Damaging Winds and Hail While Knocking Out Power After Heat Wave Wraps

What to Know

  • The heat wave has moved on, chased out by severe and damaging storms that tore across the tri-state Monday evening
  • Power outages, flooding and downed trees and wires were relatively common sites in the region Monday night
  • Temps cool down even more after that, with Tuesday's highs not expected to get out of the 70s; it may still be a little damp, though

The mind-melting heat wave that scorched the tri-state area for the last few days mercifully came to an end Monday night — chased out by severe and damaging storms that tore across the tri-state. 

Video from Bergen County in New Jersey showed quarter-sized hail coming down on houses, as the whole area was hit with some fast-moving thunderstorms around 4 p.m. — and those storms made their way east, dumping hail on parts of Long Island. The rain started in the city about the same time, coming down heavy for a few minutes before clearing up entirely and the sun coming out immediately after.

But the sunshine in the city did not last long — with more bands of thunderstorms passing through by 6 p.m., bringing dark and ominous clouds with them as the thunder, lightning and rain kept on coming until around 8 p.m. for most of the region.

The flash flooding caused hazardous conditions in the five boroughs, with some people having to ditch their cars because engines were flooded. In New Jersey, flooding was just one of the problems, as trees were toppled and hundreds of thousands lost power. NBC 4 New York’s Rana Novini and Checkey Beckford report.

Monday night's storms brought damaging winds, hail and torrential rain to all parts of the tri-state. There were a slew of power outages and road closures amid reports of trees coming down onto wires and streets the area. Approximately 388,000 customers in Monmouth County lost power due to the storms, with more outages reported in Fairfield County and Con Ed still battling to get some back on line in the city — meaning there could be as many as one million people throughout the tri-state in the dark.

Crews were working to get the power restored to all those effected either by the storm or the heat wave that camped over the area for three days. Some of those who were without power Monday night were on the Upper West Side of Manhattan — the same spot where the lights went out on June 13 and left a large chunk of midtown in the dark. That outage was due to the severe heat on Sunday damaging the equipment, and Con Ed expected to have all service back on sometime by midnight. 

Track the weather with our interactive radar below. Check the latest severe weather alerts for your neighborhood here.

Seemingly every county in the New York metropolitan area was under a severe thunderstorm warning at some point Monday night, including all five boroughs. The city and many neighboring counties had flash flood warnings in effect until at least 8 p.m. Monday as well.

The flooding was well documented on social media, with videos coming in from all over the city showing flooded streets. Water was halfway up some cars in Brooklyn right after the deluge of rain dropped, and some streets in Queens and Staten Island became ponds, some of which were impassable.

By 8 p.m., all lanes of the Long Island Expressway are closed at Francis Lewis Boulevard in Queens in both directions because of extreme flooding, with the highway reopening in full nearly an hour later.

And of course rain came pouring into subway platforms throught NYC. Videos showed waterfalls of rainwater dumping down, and there was even water rapidly dripping in inside of an LIRR train en route to Ronkonkama.

At one point during Monday evening's storms, all three area airports had a ground stop, which obviously led to massive delays. JFK Airport fared the worst, with delays of more than four hours around 11 p.m., Newark Airport was only slightly better with delays just under four hours. LaGuardia was dealing with delays of just over an hour as midnight rolled around.

All severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings ended by 10:30 p.m., as the storm had moved out to sea. A flash flood watch remined in effect until 8 a.m. Tuesday for much of the area. Check the latest weather alerts for your neighborhood here. 

Most of the steady storm activity tapered off by midnight — but another round of heavy rain and potential thunderstorms is expected early Tuesday. After temperatures dip down into the 60s overnight (a very welcome repreive from the heat), the morning storms could make for a rough morning commute for some, Storm Team 4 says. 

Most of the lingering rain from that blast should move out by midday, with scattered showers possible in the afternoon and evening. The good news: It'll feel much cooler with highs only creeping back into the mid-to-upper 70s. High pressure building back into the region will bring back bright and beautiful weather by the middle of the week, with more comfortable temps in the 80s. 

The break in heat follows a weekend that saw tens of thousands lose power -- and roughly 53,000 customers, mostly in Brooklyn and Queens, remained in the dark as of late Sunday. That number had cut in half by early Monday.

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People in Carnasie were depending on flashing police lights since many of the street and traffic lights were shut off. Residents were buying ice and ice cream just to keep themselves cool.

"I’m just enjoying the [ice cream] cone but it’s not really working. It’s too hot," Brooklyn resident Paul Hurdle said.

Earlier Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Con Ed was taking 30,000 customers in Brooklyn temporarily off power so it could make repairs and prevent a bigger outage. By Monday morning, some of those customers were still without power, and the mayor blasted the utility at a news conference.

Whether it’s grass, sand or asphalt, you’ll want to be careful walking around in barefeet over the dangerously hot weekend, as AR shows how hot those surfaces can really get. Storm Team 4’s Janice Huff reports.

“They’re not doing their job and they’re not providing real information and they clearly don’t feel accountable," he said. (Con Ed has defended its handling of record demand amid the heat wave.)

Gov. Cuomo, meanwhile, said he directed the state Department of Public Service to widen its investigation into last week's blackout in Manhattan to include Sunday's outages in Brooklyn.

Equipment failure, not heat, caused the roughly five-hour blackout July 13 that affected a 40-block stretch of Manhattan, including Times Square and Rockefeller Center.

Surfaces can become dangerously hot in the heat. George Spencer reports.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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