Tuesday's lightning filled thunderstorms and gusty winds helped to bring down trees onto power lines, knocking out power for thousands in central and northern counties in New Jersey.

The National Weather Service said there were nearly 900 lightning strikes in an hour across Central Jersey on Tuesday night. Winds gusted to 61 mph in Manasquan in one storm around 8:15 p.m. and a cluster of hail was reported in the Sayreville/Parlin area. The Lakewood Scoop reported a house was hit by lightning.

A tree fell onto wires at an apartment building on Arcadia Road in Hackensack, cutting power, according to the Hackensack Fire Department

"Yesterday morning, I called the atmosphere 'explosive.' And unless you're in South Jersey, last night's thunderstorms were pretty intense,” New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. “But we'll have to watch the sky for another round of storms tonight, after about 6 p.m."

Fallen tree at an apartment building on Arcadia Road in Hackensack (Hackensack Fire Department)

As of 8 a.m. around 40,000 JCP&L and PSE&G customers without power.

  • 35,048 JCP&L customers mostly in Hunterdon (Lebanon Township),  Monmouth (Howell), Morris (Lincoln Park), Ocean (Point Pleasant Borough, Toms River)  Sussex (Byram)  and Warren counties
  • 4,707 PSE&G customers in mostly Bergen, Burlington (Lumberson) and Passaic (Wayne) counties.

Crews have made progress restoring power overnight as over 67,000 customers were without power around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

"These were very complex storms that came through. It had a combination of strong winds and an extraordinary amount of lightning. Many of the outages we are seeing are the result of either trees or other items making contact with the lines due to the wind," JCP&L spokesman Chris Hoenig told New Jersey 101.5.

The utility brought in 100 extra workers from its sister utilities to help with restoration, according to Hoenig.

PSE&G said in a statement they had additional crews working Wednesday morning to restore power.

Earlier NJ Transit weather related delays have cleared after trees fell onto the Morris & Essex Line tracks.  The Dinky in Princeton is operating with substitute bus service due to weather related overhead wire issues.

Fallen tree on NJ Transit's Morris & Essex Line (NJ Transit)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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