Several lightning strikes hit our area yesterday, along with flooding and power outages. That story and more in Monmouth and Ocean County News from Townsquare Media.

Lightning struck at least 7 homes in Monmouth and Ocean Counties in the storm that rolled through yesterday afternoon, causing power outages and flooding on the Parkway and on Routes 35 and 138 in Wall. Lightning bolts hit 4 homes in Neptune, 2 homes in Jackson and one in Point Pleasant Beach. In Lakewood, heavy flooding caused several drivers to get stuck.

Hurricane Sandy has now been ranked as the second most expensive weather disaster in the world since 1970, at $50 billion in economic losses as a result. More troubling in the report from World Meteorological Organization is that these types of weather-related economic disasters are on the rise.

Governor Christie is heading to the Jersey Shore for his latest Town Hall event. He will be in Long Branch today at 3 pm for the first in a series of summer conversations along the shore. He will continue to tout his new budget, which delayed payments to the state Workers' Pension Fund, and press for new pension and benefits reforms. Christie has said he plans to unveil a new set of proposals later this summer aimed at reducing health care and benefits costs. He'll also take audience questions.

Governor Christie has agreed to phase in the use of results of new standardized tests for students when it comes to evaluating teachers. He announced the changes yesterday after weeks of negotiations with lawmakers and the education community. The governor also announced he's forming a panel to study the standardized tests.

A suspect still being sought in a Point Pleasant Beach robbery and a double murder in Seattle, may have friends or family in the Essex County area, according to authorities. 30-year old Ali Muhammad Brown is accused of robbing a man at gunpoint outside the Green Planet Coffee Shop on Arnold Avenue in Point Beach on June 29th. He is considered armed and dangerous.

A 4-car crash on the Parkway in Lacey Township claimed the life of a Brooklyn man early yesterday. State Police say the driver of a broken down car got out to warn other motorists about debris in the roadway. The victim, a 31-year old, drove into one of the two other vehicles that slowed down, and flipped over.

The shed fire that killed disabled marine Paul Curtis from Union Beach Saturday was accidentally set, but officials did not provide any additional details. The 51-year old victim lived with his father at the Stone Road home.

A Neptune man has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for a 2010 violent home invasion robbery in Somerset County. 34-year old Mark Walker apologized to the judge when he was sentenced Friday for allegedly brandishing a gun, then stabbing and stealing the car of a Somerville resident.

State Consumer Affairs officials say 8 NJ car dealerships and their owners will pay $1.8 million to resolve alleged deceptive sales practices. The settlement also calls for the dealerships and their owners --Carmelo Giuffree of Brooklyn, and Ignazio Giuffre of Colts Neck -- to attempt to resolve complaints filed by 45 customers by providing restitution or other relief under a binding arbitration process.

Seismic testing will proceed off the coast of Long Beach Island. Scientists want to study sediment dating back tens of millions of years by blasting the ocean floor with loud sound waves. A federal court has refused to block the project despite worries it could harm or kill whales, dolphins, turtles, and fish. They want to study sediment dating back tens of millions of years.

There have been multiple traffic accidents involving drivers breaking down in the left lane. The State Police reminds you that you should not be using that lane to cruise. If you're suspecting car trouble, get in the right lane or park on the shoulder near the right lane right away.

Jersey Central Power and Light keeps a Critical Care list of customers in the event of a power outage. The list identifies customers who are most vulnerable in the event they lose power. Customers who use electrically operated life support equipment are eligible, as are those who depend on private well water. You can register for the Critical Care list at JCP&L's Customer Service Center.

A buyer is needed to save the 104-year old carousel at Casino Pier in Seaside Heights from being dismantled and auctioned off piece by piece. The hand-carved wooden carousel survived Sandy and the boardwalk fire.

If you have a teen graduating from high school next year, here's what the Oceanfirst Foundation has been up to. Tomorrow in Farmingdale, the Oceanfirst Foundation will be awarding scholarships to high schoolers heading to Brookdale and Ocean County Colleges, Georgian Court and Monmouth Universities. The foundation's goal is to ensure students can go to school and work towards their goals and dreams despite economic difficulty.