STATE – Residents of Linden and Rahway heard a tremendous boom at about 9 a.m. Sunday, but officials say it was just thunder from the incredible storm that struck all weekend.
Pouring rain and fierce winds triggered flood warnings, downed trees, closed roads and stopped trains across New Jersey. The National Weather Service clocked wind gusts of up to 70 mph.
New Jersey Transit officials said a train carrying 500 passengers was stranded for more than five hours on the Northeast Corridor line outside the Rahway station.
NJ Transit spokeswoman Penny Bassett Hackett said police boarded the train and the company planned on using a diesel engine to reach the commuters and transport them to the Rahway station, where buses were waiting.
In Atlantic City, part of a boom crane plunged 47 floors at the controversial Revel Casino construction site while two people in Teaneck were killed by a tree that was knocked down by the storm.
The powerful storm also knocked out power to more than 235,000 customers across the state and rain washed out St. Patrick’s Day parades that had been planned in several communities.
At least 4 inches of rain had fallen in parts of Atlantic, Camden, Gloucester, and Middlesex counties on Saturday, and an additional 1 to 2 inches was expected through early Sunday.
Within the first few hours of the downpour, Roselle Park got one inch of rain, Metuchen reported two inches and South Amboy was soaked under 3½ inches. By Sunday morning, said state climatologist David Robinson said nearly 5 inches of rain fell on New Jersey.
“I think the thing that caught the forecasters a little off-guard was how much wind was recorded inland,” Robinson said. “Of all the storms we’ve had this year, this is the windiest one statewide.”
“We have a lot more rain still to come,” he said. “We could possibly get several more inches of rain. This storm has not fully gotten its act together yet.”
Robinson said heavy rain in a March storm has a much greater impact than a storm in autumn.
“In September, the ground is usually drier and the air is warmer for evaporation and reservoirs are lower,” he said.
Newark Liberty Airport experienced delays up to four hours and all Amtrak service along the Northeast Corridor was suspended from New York to Philadelphia.
In addition to suspending rail service along the Northeast Corridor, NJ Transit service was also suspended along the North Jersey Coast Line, Raritan Valley Line, Atlantic City Rail Line and the Morris and Essex line west of Summit.
Union County rescheduled its St. Patrick’s Day parade to Saturday, March 27, beginning at 1 p.m.
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