Tri-State Greeted With Windy, Wet Start to December

Wind-whipped rain knocked out power Wednesday to thousands along the East Coast, closed the Statue of Liberty and delayed flights at three major airports -- and at least one person in the region was killed.

Thousands were without electricity in the mid-Atlantic region and New York as some schools delayed openings, and heavy gusts of winds that snapped a huge, lighted Christmas tree at the South Street Seaport also prompted the closure of the Statue of Liberty. Flight delays of up to five hours were reported at LaGuardia Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The National Weather Service issued thunderstorm warnings for parts of New Jersey, New York City and suburban Long Island. High winds led authorities to briefly ban all trucks from using the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Commuter rail service between Newark, N.J., and New York City was briefly suspended on Wednesday due to overhead wire damage, New Jersey Transit said. It wasn't immediately clear whether the storm was responsible for the damage.

The rain was causing some discomfort in the city, where broken umbrellas peeked out from trash cans and many pedestrians were soaked.

"I'm about 45 percent drenched," said Charles Hendricks, 33, passing out fliers in front of a Manhattan store. "My arms, my legs, my hat. But I still prefer a wet day over a cold day, especially in December."

In New Jersey, a man was killed and his wife injured when a tree toppled and struck their car, West Milford police said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the woman was taken to a hospital with head injuries. Thousands in the state were without power.

In upstate New York, blowing snow caused treacherous driving conditions, and high winds were blamed for knocking out power to more than 31,000 utility customers.

Meanwhile, wet, wintry weather in Pennsylvania caused flooding and delayed school openings. More than 3 inches of rain had fallen in Pittsburgh since Tuesday morning, National Weather Service officials said, and the drenching forced the evacuation of dorms at the University of Pittsburgh satellite campus in Bradford near the New York state line. Classes were canceled.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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