MONTCLAIR, NJ — Steady, and sometimes heavy, rain in the forecast for the Tri-state area throughout the weekend might increase some already significant weather damage in our area. North Jersey offers some clear examples of the situation that residents hope will not get worse.
In Passaic, an entire building's roof sat on the road in front of Children’s Day Nursery and Family Center, at the corner of Jefferson Street and Columbia Avenue. The hurricane force winds of Tuesday night's storm peeled the whole thing off.
"Thankfully, it appears that the damage looks much worse than it is," center director Susan Dannemiller said.
She said that the building only sustained minor water damage in its attic, despite not having a roof.
“Thankfully, nobody was hurt.”
When the storm hit Tuesday evening, there are usually parents or neighbors parked out front, where the roof ended up landing. Nobody was there this time. Dannemiller called it a miracle.
The driver of a car that had been parked next to Woodman Sports Field in Montclair was not as lucky. A coach who’d been at the baseball diamond there had gotten out of the storm and into his car with one of the baseball players, when a tree came crashing down, pulling live electrical wires with it, and onto the car.
Police, fire and electrical crews were called in, and rescued them. The resident of the house in which the tree had been situated said that it had been a hazard for some time.
“We had a feeling it was going to come down for a while,” Nate Rosenfield said. “We asked the town to remove it and they didn't do it.”
“At least no one was hurt,” he added.
The most thoroughly damaged car from Tuesday’s storm was on the lot at Schumacher Chevrolet in Clifton. The brand new Chevy Impala burned completely when a bolt of lightning hit a transformer next to the dealership, pulling down live electrical wires. It not only lit up the car, it even set the ground near the vehicle on fire, melting the asphalt there.
Utility crews remained on the scene for more than 20 hours after the incident, restoring the scene.
Also working all day on the day after were tree cutting crews. The sound of mulching machines was common throughout North Jersey neighborhoods on Wednesday, including that of Colleen Warner, in Montclair.
Two trees as tall as her three-story home came crashing down Tuesday evening.
“It was huge,” Warner said, describing one of the trees that ended up falling dangerously close to her wood-sided colonial.
“Thank God nobody was sitting in this room,” Warner said, pointing to a sitting room, closest to the street. “Literally, the tree hit the house. It hit the window, but just didn't break it.”
A Twitter user, @rachnstuff, posted video of the tree in front of her home getting blown over by Tuesday’s high winds
Major winds in Union County, NJ. Casually recording the wind and caught our tree falling... @weatherchannel @CNNweather @breakingweather @NY1weather @nynjpaweather @njdotcom pic.twitter.com/zTs7FaBhf3
— rachel ♡ (@rachnstuff) May 15, 2018
Hundreds of other trees in North Jersey met a similar fate. However, with rain forecast through the weekend, ground saturation is expected. It can cause some trees that are already off balance to tip. It’s a reason for caution in the days ahead.
Case in point, on Ridgewood Avenue, next to Glen Ridge Country Club in Montclair on Wednesday afternoon. A full day after the major storm hit, half of a tree fell onto the roadway, prompting a response from the fire department, and from a tree crew, which cleared it out in minutes.
The same scene may very well be repeated across North Jersey over the next few days.
Some of the newly fallen trees might also take down even more power lines. As of Wednesday evening, more than 20,000 North Jersey customers were still without electricity.