Strong winds, heavy rains in Northeast knocks out power, topples crane, diverts flights

Saturday, March 13, 2010

High winds, rain in Northeast topples crane in NJ

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Strong winds and heavy rain pounded parts of the Northeast on Saturday, leaving more than 100,000 without power in New Jersey, where a boom crane at an Atlantic City casino construction site tipped over, scattering debris over a six-block area and injuring a police officer. Father north, international flights bound for New York were diverted to Boston due to the high winds, causing numerous delays.

The strong winds are being blamed for numerous downed trees and power lines throughout New Jersey, causing power outages across the state. In Atlantic City and just north in Ocean County, the National Weather Service says a wind gust of 67 mph was recorded. Meanwhile, about 2 to 3 inches of rain had fallen across the state by nightfall, and an additional 1 to 2 inches was expected through early Sunday.

Logan International Airport in Boston was hosting extra international aircraft. Massport spokesman Matthew Brelis says nine overseas flights had to stop in Boston because they no longer had the fuel to wait for clearance into New York’s John F. Kennedy airport. Among the diverted planes was the biggest commercial passenger jet in the world, the double-deck Airbus A-380. It was being operated by Air France.

In Pennsylvania, officials and residents from one end of the state to the other kept a nervous eye on rivers swollen by rain and melting snow, as well as high winds. But officials revised some of their river crest projections in western Pennsylvania downward Saturday as rainfall appeared to be less than was projected.

The hardest-hit area of the storm seemed to be southern New Jersey, where Public Service Electric & Gas reported 73,000 customers without power, while Atlantic City Electric said 36,000 customers were in the dark.

Connecticut Light & Power says 31,000 customers are without power in an area encompassing Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk.

Weeks after digging out from a season of record-setting snowfall, the Jersey Shore area spent Saturday dealing with pounding rain and gusting winds.

In Atlantic City, a city police officer was injured when the horizontal arm of a boom crane collapsed at the Revel Casino construction site and sent debris flying.

Atlantic City police Capt. Bill McKnight said officer Brian Hurley was injured when debris crashed through the driver’s side window of his cruiser. McKnight says the officer’s injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

Two condominium complexes near the construction site were evacuated and several area roads were briefly closed. The winds also caused at least two homes to collapse in that area and damaged numerous other homes and buildings.

No other injures were reported.

Flood warnings were issued for several rivers in northern Jersey, including the Ramapo River at Mahwah and Saddle River at Lodi, where minor to moderate flooding was expected Saturday night and Sunday. Coastal flood and high wind warnings were in effect for the Jersey Shore.

will not be displayed