Tropical Storm Isaias batters NYC region

Tropical Storm Isaias battered the New York City region and prompted the National Weather Service to activate numerous serious weather alerts for the area. 

Much of the Tri-State Region was under Tropical Storm Warnings, Coastal Flood Warnings, Flash Flood Watches, and more because of the threats from very heavy rainfall, powerful winds, and flooding along the coast, which could include potentially deadly high surf and rip currents.

Just over an inch of rain had fallen in New York City by the afternoon. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the storm downed or damaged almost 2,000 trees. A tree fell on a van in Queens, killing a man in his 60s, police said. A falling tree also killed 

The storm forced the suspension of service on all three commuter railroads that serve New York City: New Jersey Transit rail, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad.

The NWS expected the strongest winds to hit Long Island, southern Westchester, southern Connecticut, New York City, and northern New Jersey.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a statewide state of emergency that went into effect at 5 a.m. 

"Do not be on the roads unless absolutely necessary," Murphy said in a statement. "If you MUST drive, take it slow, use caution, and leave extra time to get to your destination."

On Monday, PSE&G said in an email to customers in New Jersey that the storm was expected to cause a "significant number of power outages." On Tuesday, the state's utilities were reporting hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were without electricity. The outages peaked at 1.4 million.

"We now anticipate that this storm may be one of the strongest to reach New Jersey in years and some outages could last for an extended period," PSE&G said. "The energy grid is much stronger than it was just a few years ago, but we are prepared to respond to any outages safely and as quickly as possible with our own crews and additional utility crews that we are bringing in from out of state."

On Monday, de Blasio said workers prepared for the worst. Crews installed barriers in the South Street Seaport area. The city focused on Lower Manhattan, which was badly flooded during Superstorm Sandy, the mayor said. 

City and state officials urged New Yorkers to take steps to prepare for the storm and to avoid traveling, if possible, on Tuesday. The city's emergency management agency issued a travel advisory for Tuesday because the heavy rainfall and strong winds could reduce visibility.

The MTA braced for flash flooding. NYC Transit crews were prepared to pump water out of the system and into storm drains. The agency was banning tandem trailers and empty tractor-trailers on MTA bridges (Throgs Neck, Henry Hudson, Marine Parkway, Bronx-Whitestone, Robert F. Kennedy, Cross Bay, and Verrazzano-Narrows) from noon to midnight on Tuesday.

A Tornado Watch was issued Tuesday for NYC and parts of  New Jersey and Connecticut until 4 p.m. (The Tornado Watch has expired.) 

Con Edison said crews were prepared for power outages in New York.


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The NWS outlined several potential effects. Here is a summary of the major ones:


Prepare for life-threatening rainfall flooding having possible extensive impacts across northeast New Jersey, New York City, and the Lower Hudson Valley. Potential impacts include: 

  • Major rainfall flooding may prompt many evacuations and rescues. 
  • Rivers and streams may rapidly overflow their banks in multiple places. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches may become dangerous rivers. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed. 
  • In hilly terrain, destructive runoff may run quickly down valleys, and increase susceptibility to rockslides and mudslides. 


Prepare for dangerous wind having possible significant impacts across Southeast New York, Northeast New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut. Potential impacts include: 

  • Some damage to roofing and siding materials, along with damage to porches, awnings, carports, and sheds. A few buildings experiencing window, door, and garage door failures. Mobile homes damaged, especially if unanchored. Unsecured lightweight objects become dangerous projectiles. 
  • Several large trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow-rooted. Several fences and roadway signs blown over. 
  • Some roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban or heavily wooded places. A few bridges, causeways, and access routes impassable. 
  • Scattered power and communications outages, but more prevalent in areas with above-ground lines. 

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Prepare for locally hazardous surge having possible limited impacts across shoreline communities. Potential impacts in this area include: 

  • Localized inundation with storm surge flooding mainly along immediate shorelines and in low lying spots, or in areas farther inland near where higher surge waters move ashore. 
  • Sections of near-shore roads and parking lots become overspread with surge water. Driving conditions dangerous in places where surge water covers the road. 
  • Moderate beach erosion. Heavy surf also breaching dunes, mainly in usually vulnerable locations. Strong and frequent rip currents. 
  • Minor to locally moderate damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers. A few small craft broken away from moorings. 


Prepare for a tornado event having possible limited impacts across Southeast New York, Northeast New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut. Potential impacts include: 

  • The occurrence of isolated tornadoes can hinder the execution of emergency plans during tropical events. 
  • A few places may experience tornado damage, along with power and communications disruptions. 
  • Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow-rooted trees knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats pulled from moorings.