Isaias Hits NY Area: 2.5 Million Lose Power and One Is Killed

More than two and a half million customers lost power and at least one person was killed after Tropical Storm Isaias tore through New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Tuesday, battering the region with heavy rain, tornadoes and nearly hurricane-force winds.

In New York City and Westchester County, around 250,000 Con Edison customers had lost power by nightfall as a result of Isaias — second only to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 in terms of storm-related outages, said Allan Drury, a spokesman for the utility.

New Jersey was hit even harder. By 8 p.m., around 1.3 million utility customers in the state were without service, as were almost 550,000 in Connecticut. Across New York State, more than 800,000 lost power.

Many of those who were affected could be waiting a while for their power to come back.

“It will be days, not hours,” Mr. Drury said, citing the scale of the repairs workers would need to make once the damage had been assessed.

In New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy offered a similar forecast.

“Some of these outages may last for a few days due to the severity of the storm,” Mr. Murphy wrote on Twitter at around 4 p.m.

The strong winds that caused some of the outages by knocking branches and entire trees onto power lines also took a human toll.

A 60-year-old man who was sitting on the passenger side of a car on 84th Drive in Briarwood, Queens, was killed when a tree fell on the vehicle around 12:40 p.m., the police said.

About an hour and a half later, a 49-year-old woman was critically injured when she was struck by a falling tree branch on Dumont Avenue in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, the police said.

At least two people were killed after a tornado touched down in Bertie County, N.C., and caused significant damage to a neighborhood there.

By 3 p.m., high winds were already causing mayhem in and around New York City, with the National Weather Service expecting “damaging winds” and the threat of tornadoes to continue through the afternoon.

Branches from trees lining neighborhood streets snapped and fell onto cars. Near Washington Square Park in Manhattan, a tree crashed into a parked van. A mile away, in Gramercy Park, entire trees were toppled, with one splitting in half.

Arlene Harrison, the president of the Gramercy Block Association, said she was thankful that no one had been hurt.

“Trees are replaceable,” she said.

Amando Flores, who has been Gramercy Park’s caretaker for 25 years and who was working in the park on Tuesday afternoon, said he saw one of his favorite trees, a magnolia that he helped plant nearly two decades ago, uproot and collapse.

“It was a sad day for Gramercy Park,” Mr. Flores said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said some aboveground subway service, the Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road and the Staten Island Ferry had been suspended temporarily. At least 55 flights were canceled at Kennedy International Airport and at least 78 were canceled at La Guardia Airport.

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge was temporarily closed to traffic in both directions. At a briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Sarah Feinberg, the transit authority’s interim president, said she could not say when full subway service would resume.

“As soon as the trees and debris are removed, we’ll obviously be back to full service,” she said. “Which may take some time given the number of trees and branches that are down and fences and other debris.”

The rains brought by the storm had mostly passed through the city by late afternoon, but the stiff winds continued, creating an odd juxtaposition with the suddenly sunny skies.

Patrick O’Hara, a Weather Service meteorologist, said the agency was tracking reports of at least two tornadoes on Tuesday: one in Strathmere, in South Jersey, where heavy damage was not immediately reported; and another near Dover, Del.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed trees snapped and pieces of buildings blown on top of vehicles in Dover.

Mr. O’Hara said that his office, which covers most of New Jersey, had received multiple reports of street flooding and trees blocking roads. Heavy rains had also caused flash flooding along creeks and roads in southeastern Pennsylvania, he said.

Strong winds, with gusts of more than 73 miles per hour, were possible into the evening along the New Jersey and Delaware coasts, according to the Weather Service. The rain was expected to taper off in the late afternoon.

On the Jersey Shore around 1 p.m., the beaches were nearly empty in the borough of Lavallette as winds whipped the air and white caps could be seen on the ocean waves. A few curious beachgoers made their way to the sand for a quick check on the incoming storm.

The power was out all across the barrier island on New Jersey’s coast, the borough said.

Before the storm hit, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said in a statement on Tuesday that some inland areas in the state might get up to six inches of rain.

He said the state had deployed rescue teams, with boats and high-water vehicles, to the areas that could be hit hardest by the storm. The state had also distributed water pumps, chain saws, sandbags and bottled water.

Lauren Hard and Juliana Kim contributed reporting.

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