Powerful winds and severe thunderstorms down trees, power lines across state

Posted: Updated:

Towns across New Jersey, including Maplewood, West Orange, and Metuchen, are cleaning up after a Halloween storm packing powerful winds and severe thunderstorms blew across the state, downing trees and power lines.

A large tree pulled down wires and a utility pole on Wyoming Avenue in Maplewood, just a few blocks from the Millburn border.

A fire was reported along Route 27, near Grove Avenue in Metuchen.

"Apparently, we have a high-power transmission line which broke up in the air and one of the legs is laying on the ground,” says Chief Rob Donnan, with the Metuchen Fire Department. “Right now, it's basically cooking into the ground and continuing to burn. The power’s not shut down yet. PSE&G is on the scene once they have the ability to cut the line or drop the circuit in the area they can re-energize the system and then will be able to get in there we can put a little water on it, but quite honestly the heat is so intense and basically built a volcano with the asphalt and it will continue to bring off heat for a good day or so."

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The flames were extinguished just after 5:30 a.m. after power that was feeding the live wire was cut off.

A large tree came down over the wall that separates homes from the I-280 Eastbound on-ramp, just off Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange.

Tree crews were busy removing the tree from the roadway, but not before hundreds of commuters found themselves looking for an alternative to get on the interstate.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for parts of Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset counties early Friday as a severe thunderstorm moved through Pennington.

The storm caused up to 30,000 power outages across the state at its peak.

AP wire services helped contribute to this report.

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