Isasis damage: 1 million without power, some may be out for days
Fast-moving tropical storm Isasis hit New Jersey for only a few hours Tuesday, but the cleanup of fallen trees resulting from its high winds and heavy rains will take days to complete.
The storm had wind gusts of over 70 mph along the shore, dropped more than four inches of rain inland and left 1.4 million people without power — with over 836,000 still out as of Wednesday afternoon as of 3:20 p.m.
A tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service in the Strathmere section of Upper Township It also confirmed a water spout, which can be called a "tornado over water" off Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island in Ocean County with a wind gust of 109 mph.
New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow said Wednesday's weather will be ideal for crews working to restore power with temperatures in the 80s and sunny skies.
"Aside from potential thunderstorms, there are no wind concerns for the next week. 15 mph, tops. The next heat wave starts on Monday with temperatures in the 90s," Zarrow said.
As of 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, the state's largest electric utilities were reporting the following outages:.
• JCP&L: 485,649 (Monmouth, Morris, Ocean hardest hit)
• PSE&G: 263,722 (Bergen, Burlington, Essex)
• Atlantic City Electric: 47,618 (Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May)
• Orange & Rockland: 39,719 (Bergen)
JCP&L said it had “an army of 3,000 workers” working around the clock to restore power and another 1,200 resources joining in. The utility has staging areas in Jackson Township, Oceanport and Livingston.
PSE&G said it has 2,800 workers, including mutual aid from Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, other parts of New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
253 tree trimming crews, including 643 workers, are responding to clear extensive tree damage from the storm, according to the utility.
The company said it would open customer comfort stations where customers can receive free water and ice. Locations will be announced via the company's Facebook page.
JCP&L announced grocery stores where customers can pick up free water and ice.
Atlantic City Electric posted estimate restoration times for its customers of Saturday night but said that as damage is assessed and work is performed the times are being updated.
"Many customers who may currently have estimated times of restoration on Thursday, will be restored today," the utility said in a message on its Twitter account.
JCP&L and PSE&G said it was still too early to give an estimate of when most power would be restored. State officials suggested Tuesday, even before the storm hit, that restoration could take days for many residents.
Gov. Murphy visited JCP&L workers working on power restoration in Jackson on Wednesday morning to assess storm damage in Ocean County.
"For some residents we know restoration may take some time counting in days instead of hours. I've been back and forth with mayors, county officials, electric service CEO's and many others over the past 72 hours," Murphy said during his coronavirus briefing on Wednesday.
"We urge everyone's patience as crews are working as quickly as possible," Murphy said.
Board of Public Utilities president Joe Fiordaliso said at the briefing he would have a hard time naming which area of the state got hit the hardest with outages.
"The entire state was ravaged by this quick moving storm," Fiordaliso said.
He said transmission systems took considerable damage along with downed wires.
"That has to be fixed first before we the utilities can then distribute the energy to your home and my home so it's going to take a little time," Fiordaliso said, adding that the hope is to have 80% of all customers restored by Friday night.
"Once you get past that 80% threshold you get into more difficult situations where there are isolated cases which obviously take a lot more time to take care of" which could take until the end of the weekend, according to the BPU president.
The storm forced 12 MVC offices to close on Wednesday because of power and internet outages including
- Eatontown inspecition
- Rahway inspection
- Rio Grande
- South Brunswick
- South Brunswick inspection
NJ Transit suspended most rail service on Wednesday morning but resumed service on a weekend schedule at 10 a.m. on the Northeast Corridor, Raritan Valley, Main/Bergen County and Pascack Valley Lines.
The Atlantic City Line, along with bus, light rail and Access Link services operated on a regular weekday schedule on Wednesday.
Scores of roads remained closed on Wednesday, including Route 202 in Bernardsville, Route 514 in Millstone, Route 27 in Edison, Route 35 in Middletown, Route 36 in Hazlet and West Long Branch, Route 71 in Spring Lake and Route 33 in Hamilton and Hightstown.
State offices and agencies will reopen on Wednesday their regular hours. The state division of Parks and Forestry expected some state parks and forests to delay their opening with exact locations and times to be announced on the state park social media.
The Cape May County Park and Zoo will close on Wednesday to allow cleanup from the storm including damage to a fence and pavilion.
"We lost at least 30 trees and treetops and have quite a bit of work to do to make it safe for you to visit again," the zoo wrote on its Facebook page, adding that the all the animals are safe.
Red Cross New Jersey reported assisting families whose homes were damaged by trees in Freehold, Hillside, Trenton, Union City and Wharton.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ
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