Powerful early-morning storms battered parts of Long Island's north shore and Manhattan Tuesday morning, dropping torrential rains and sending damaging wind gusts that felled trees, disrupted power to tens of thousands of customers and caused disruptions for the Long Island Railroad.
More than 80,000 customers lost power following the storms Tuesday morning, PSEG Long Island, with communities in Brookhaven and Smithtown being the hardest-hit. By late Tuesday night, about 60,000 customers were restored; PSEG says it will take two days for full power to be restored.
The quick-moving storm walloped the two towns between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., dropping heavy downpours amid powerful sustained winds topping 80 mph and numerous lightning strikes.
Storm Team 4 says that during the most damaging period of the storm, as many as 2,500 lightning strikes were recorded in 15 minutes.
The severe weather had passed out of the region by about 7 a.m., but left behind wreckage that will take days for homeowners to clear up. Dozens of trees were downed throughout the villages on the north shore, some on houses and crushing cars.
Several residents posted photos of the damage to social media networks. Images and video from the area showed tree limbs snapped by lightning and wind, and streets blocked off by fallen branches and trunks. NOAA estimated wind gusts reached nearly 80 mph as the storms moved through Southold and Shelter Island.
The National Weather Service said it would not be investigating a potential tornado in the area; the agency says no tornadic activity was spotted on Doppler radar during the storm.
The storm also affected New York City, with booming thunder waking up residents in Brooklyn overnight. One Instagram user captured video of lightning striking the Empire State Building at the peak of the storm.
Debris from the storm forced MTA officials to temporarily shut down parts of the Port Jefferson branch of the Long Island Railroad Tuesday morning.
There have been no immediate reports of injuries.