Powerful winds cause serious damage in NJ; thousands lose power
Strong winds were gusting through New Jersey Monday, knocking out power for thousands and causing damage to structures.
Wind gusts of 82 mph in the Lanoka Harbor section of Lacey Township, 74 mph in Beach Haven and 73 mph in Cape May were recorded by the National Weather Service.
The canopy of a Sunoco gas station at Tower Ave & Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township collapsed. Shore News Network posted video of the roof of Action Sport in Somers Point beig peeled back
As seen by photos and video posted to social media, the Wildwood boardwalk was damaged near Convention Hall.
Wildwood mayor Pete Byron told New Jersey 101.5 the boardwalk lifted up by a gust of wind near Taylor Avenue and broke into several pieces. Byron said the same section had been under repair and the engineer on that project was already looking at the damage in order to start repairs.
Bryon is confident the boardwalk will be repaired in time for Memorial Day weekend
The Wildwood boardwalk is among those closed to visitors along the Jersey Shore, as communities try to adhere to social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wires also fell across Route 18 in East Brunswick between Feris Street and Tices Lane knocking out power to most of the township although Route 18 was reopened around 2 p.m. Fallen wires always fell onto Route 206 in Princeton.
"New Jersey is stuck in the middle between strong high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean and strong low pressure over the Great Lakes," according to chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow.
As of 3:45 p.m. over 37,778 utility customers were without power:
• JCP&L: 10,999 customers mostly in Monmouth County (Howell and Middletown), Ocean County (Manchester), Sussex (Andover & Franklin) and Warren (Mansfield)
• PSE&G: 3,525 mostly Bergen County (Englewood)
• Atlantic City Electric: 23,254mostly Atlantic County (Atlantic City, Brigantine, Galloway), Cape May County (Dennis, Cape May, Wildwood and Upper Township) and Cumberland (Commercial Township)
JCP&L's Cliff Cole said crews are out making repairs, but said the higher the wind gusts the more problems that "we have." He could not estimate when power would be restored for those off-line.
Cole could not provide an estimate as to when power would be restored for those off-line, as crews are prohibited from going up in utility bucket trucks in winds of over 40 mph. So, crews can only access some of the problem areas once the winds have calmed down.
Cole also said that the COVID-19 pandemic would not have an impact on the ability of crews mobilizing, although he added, steps have been taken to keep employees safe.
"The crews won't be inhibited by the fact we're going through this crisis and getting the lights back on as quickly and safely as we can," Cole said.
Atlantic City Electric on its Twitter account said "crews are working to restore service safely and efficiently to customers as severe storms and strong winds continue to move through our service area."
Chris Coleman contributed to this report