The National Weather Service is investigating whether a tornado was to blame after thunderstorms on Sunday evening damaged a Jersey Shore hotel roof and knocked out power to thousands.

A cold front was the culprit for Sunday evening's severe storms, blasting the state with wind and rain, according to Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow. Gusty winds will continue into Monday afternoon.

The storm caused "significant structural damage" at the America's Best Value Inn on New York Road in Neptune Township with debris, downed wires and damaged vehicles, according to the Neptune Township Office of Emergency Management. The hotel's 11 guests had to leave the building.

Pictures of the hotel show exposed walls on the upper levels of the hotel, debris scattered around the parking lot and a small boat on a trailer in the street. A part of the roof from the hotel lay across the street on Monday morning, according to photographer Bud McCormick.

Neptune City's emergency management coordinator told the Asbury Park Press that firefighters on the roof could see inside rooms.

Witnesses told CBS New York that The Headliner club next door also sustained damage and its outdoor furniture was thrown onto the road. The tents outside the club were ripped apart, according to McCormick.

In Trenton, a large section of the roof was ripped off a New York Avenue building that houses Stone Tech Marble & Foundation, according to MidJersey.news. The National Weather Service reported a wind gust of 63 mph in Trenton as the storm moved through the area around 7:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service told the Asbury Park Press it would investigate on Monday if the damage was the result of a tornado.

"Such 'linear mode' systems generally produce strong wind pushing in only one direction. And there was no indication of tornado rotation on radar. Therefore, I suspect the pockets of damage were caused by straight-line winds or possibly a microburst, as wind radiates outward from a collapsing thunderstorm," Zarrow said.

A 70 mph wind was reported near the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Joint Base in Burlington County around 7:40 p.m.

Downed trees and branches were reported on Cleveland Avenue, East Henry Street and East Edgar Road in Linden and Route 571 in West Windsor

A tree fell into the side of a house on Portland Avenue in Scotch Plains but its owner was not injured, according to News 12 New Jersey.

The roof of a Sunoco station on Route 70 in Evesham was damaged.

More than 9,600 JPC&L customers mostly in Monmouth County (Highlands, Middletown,Marlboro, Millstone) and 5,058 JCP&L customers (mostly in Burlington (Mt. Laurel) and Somerset (Montgomery) were without power on Sunday evening.

About 1,800 JCP&L customers mostly in Monmouth County were still out of power as of 7 a.m.

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