Trash the Umbrella! Gusty Winds, Heaving Rain Strike Region

Powerful late-winter storm to last all weekend

Normally we remember to carry an umbrella when it's raining outside, but this weekend's stormy weather may render it useless.

A plethora of four sodden, wind-broken umbrellas got dumped in a garbage can on 23rd and 8th in Chelsea this morning – forlorn possessions of bad weather victims who preferred abandoning any attempt to keep dry to the challenge of wielding an umbrella upright amid the strong wind gusts and heaving rain lashing the city.

"Ours is in a trash can on 48th and 6th, along with the more expensive one we bought two hours later, foolishly assuming the higher-priced tool could handle the high winds. Take it from us -- nothing works.)

The powerful late-winter storm will stick around. It's expected to create a tri-state washout this weekend.

But instead of heavy snow, the main problem will be plain old rain, and plenty of it.

The other concern with this storm will be gusty winds, and coastal issues such as tidal flooding and beach erosion.

Winds will gust up to 50 mph near the coast on Saturday morning, and slowly decrease throughout the day. The strong gusts affected air traffic, with area airports experiencing varying degrees of delay.

Flights scheduled to arrive at Newark International Airport were delayed by an average of 5 hours and 24 minutes due to the weather Saturday afternoon, while John F. Kennedy International Airport suspended all departures until 6 p.m. Arriving flights at JFK were running 4 hours and 43 minutes late.

The windy storm downed trees and caused power outages throughout the region; thousands of customers in New York, primarily in Westchester lost electricity, and Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) reported 6,000 scattered outages in New Jersey.

The heaviest rain will fall Saturday afternoon and night, and anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of rain is possible by Sunday afternoon. And already saturated soil may simply not be able to handle the extreme rainfall rates.

The potential for flooding will last into Sunday afternoon, as the rain will slowly taper off as we head into the second half of the weekend.

Most areas in New Jersey were under a flood watch issued by the National Weather Service, while coastal flood warnings and wind advisories were in effect for the Jersey Shore.

Officials fear the storm will cause major beach erosion and moderate-to-major flooding across the state. Some minor road flooding and sporadic power outages were occurring Saturday, but no major problems were reported.

The weather also forced officials to cancel the soft opening of the new Red Bulls Arena in Harrison.

Check NBCNewYork's weather page for the latest up-to-the-minute forecast and school closings.

And don't forget to download the NBCNewYork iPhone app free from the app store for weather updates, breaking news and more.

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